Tributes paid as triplets' mum Rachel Park dies

Rachel and Steven Park with the triplets Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Rachel and Steven Park's triplets spent the first few months of their lives in hospital

Tributes are being paid to a mother of triplets who died after spending her first Christmas at home with her children.

Poppie, Mollie and Evelyn Park were born prematurely in March and spent several months in hospital in Newcastle and Whitehaven.

Their mother Rachel, 39, died at the family home in Bransty, Whitehaven, on Tuesday.

Police described her death as "unexplained but not suspicious".

Online appeals have been launched to help Mrs Park's husband Steven care for the youngsters who were born 14 weeks early.

More than £4,500 has been donated towards a £5,000 target on Go Fund Me while £4,900 has been raised through Paypal.

Family friend Lucy Dawson told BBC Cumbria: "Rachel had the girls back in March this year and I fell pregnant with triplets just after.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption The Parks said they had been looking forward to celebrating the triplets' first Christmas at home

"I got in touch with Rachel online and she supported me through every step because she knew what I was going through. I wouldn't be where I am without her support.

"She was a good friend to me and a good support to other ladies who had triplets in the area and across the UK as well."

Julie Hodgson, who also helped set up the appeals, said on her Facebook page its aim was to give Mrs Park's "beautiful family the support they need now and in the coming months".

Dozens of tributes have been posted with one describing her death as "totally tragic and heartbreaking".

The Parks spoke last week of their joy at having the children home for Christmas and told the BBC they were "three little bundles of miracles".

Mrs Park said their combined weight was less than two bags of sugar, adding: "They were really tiny. You were terrified to touch them in case they snapped or they broke."

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