A FORMER Ilkley cafe worker had to be cremated in Canada because she did not have holiday insurance.

Now the family of Gillian Goodison, who used to work at Cafe J in Ilkley, are warning others to take out insurance to avoid similar heartbreak.

The 59-year-old, who lived in Bingley, died five days before Christmas. She was found in bed by her ten-year-old grandson.

The retired cafe worker had flown out to Hamilton, Ontario, to spend six months with one of her daughters and her family when the tragedy happened.

Daughter Siobhan Goodison, 22, of Fox Street, Bingley, said her mum died of a massive heart attack.

“She was fit and healthy,” she said. “She had no heart problems. This was the last thing that any of us ever expected to happen. It came out of the blue.

“We’re heartbroken and devastated.”

Mrs Goodison went to Canada two years ago and took out travel insurance but this time she never got round to it, her daughter said.

“We don’t know why she didn’t get any travel cover this time,” she said. “She probably thought nothing would happen to her. It’s awful but it can happen to anyone.

“We wanted to warn others not to travel abroad without insurance. It makes losing a loved one even more devastating if you can’t bring their body home.”

It would have cost £10,000 to bring Mrs Goodison’s body back to the UK, which the family could not afford, so she had to be cremated there and a relative will travel back with her ashes in the future.

“We will scatter them at Fountains Abbey, a place she loved and where we used to go as children,” said Siobhan.

“We raised more than £700 from crowdfunding and that will pay to give her a good send-off but our family here are still struggling to accept she has gone.

“It doesn’t seem real because we have not had her body to say goodbye to. If we can share our story with people we hope it will prompt others to make sure they always have travel insurance and never go abroad without it.

“Mum was a happy-go-lucky person. She was strong, funny, caring, and would always be there to help others. We will miss her terribly.”