A teenage girl has tragically died after being struck down by the flu during a recent outbreak in Britain.
Bethany Walker, 18, from Applecross, lost her life after taking ill at home after suffering from flu symptoms which later developed into pneumonia.
She was airlifted to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness but died later last Friday.
Tributes have poured in on social media.
Her mother Heather Teale wrote on Facebook: “My beautiful Daughter Bethany Walker was taken from me.
“She had been suffering from a flu virus, which became pneumonia, she was airlifted to Raigmore with me by her side, where she rapidly deteriorated, the staff in Intensive Care could not have done more, she was given the best possible treatment from a team of eight people for over two hours, they tried everything possible but sadly despite their best efforts she didn’t make it.
“I am broken, the bottom has fallen out of my world.
“I have my mum with me, and my wonderful son Danny Walker who are both feeling the same loss as I am.
“Life will never be the same again. Bethany, I love you to the moon and back, I always have and I always will, you were the best daughter I could have ever wished for and I will always be the proudest mum in the world.
“I have no more words.
“I’m truly devastated.
“Sleep tight my beautiful girl, your brother and I will love you forever, you will never be out of my thoughts as long as I live.”
Among those paying his respects was TV adventurer Monty Halls, who lived on the Applecross peninsula in 2008 for his Great Escapes series.
He wrote: “Heather, I am so, so sorry to hear this news – it is beyond comprehension. Words seem so completely inadequate.
“Every member of the film crew for Great Escapes remembers her so fondly, a total delight. My deepest condolences to you, and your family.
“I know the entire team send their best wishes, their thoughts, and their love. Monty xxx”
The Applecross Inn Facebook also paid its own special tribute:”Farewell to dear Bethany another fantastic member of our team who we sadly lost last Friday after a short illness, you were the ‘belle of the ball’ at Hogmanay …..and indeed everywhere.
“Such a tragic loss of someone so perfect in every way, so polite, such beauty, humour, fun, music and studies.
“You were pure pleasure as an employee …..loved by every member of our team , so much devotion and dedication to all you did.”
Bethany wanted to study midwifery and was due to head for Aberdeen University later this year.
Plockton High School in Wester Ross also paid tribute to former pupil Bethany Walker.
“As we return to school at the start of 2018, our school community has been saddened at the news of the tragic loss of Bethany Walker from Applecross who was a pupil in Plockton High School up until the summer of 2017 when she left school, after six very successful years, to take a gap year before taking up her place in Aberdeen to study midwifery,” said the school’s Facebook.
“Bethany was a kind, caring, gifted and exceptionally conscientious student and a super role model for younger pupils both in the school itself and in the hostel where she resided during the week and where she was so well thought of by the residence staff.
“In S6 Bethany was appointed as our Deputy Head Girl and conducted herself so well on all public occasions and in carrying out her duties.
“It was a privilege for all of us to have taught Bethany, to have known her in her years in the school and to have maintained contact with her after she left.
“It is tragic to lose someone so young and the thoughts of the whole school and the hostel are with Bethany’s family at this sad time.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Highland could not comment on individual cases but said standard advice on the flu virus applied to the region.
She said:”If you’re fit and healthy flu, although it can make you feel miserable, is something that you can usually recover from at home.
“You may consider visiting your GP is you have a long term medical condition, weakened immune system, pregnant or are over the age of 65.
“There is no evidence that it is particularly bad or that we have more of it in this area than we would expect.
“The flu vaccine is the best defence we have against the spread of flu and it isn’t too late to get vaccinated.
“People suffering with flu-like symptoms should cough or sneeze into tissues and bin them immediately, wash their hands regularly with soap and warm water and frequently clean regularly used surfaces to stop the spread of flu.
“Avoid having unnecessary contact with other people if you or they have symptoms of flu.”