MYSTERY surrounds the death of a young Fylde mum who died on a paradise beach in the Caribbean – just hours after arriving to celebrate her father’s wedding.
Nicola Raybone, 33, flew out to Antigua with her family on Thursday.
But shortly after her arrival, her body was discovered on the shoreline at the Jolly Beach Resort on the west coast of the island.
Police in Antigua say the cause of death is unknown but there was no sign of injury or indication of violence.
A police investigation is now under way and a post mortem is due to be carried out to ascertain a cause of death.
Today heartbroken tributes were paid to the mum of two who has been described as someone who “loved her kids unconditionally.”
Ms Raybone – known to her friends as Nikki – was believed to be living in St Annes at the time of her death but had previously lived on Mornington Road in Lytham.
Today former neighbours there told of their shock.
They said Ms Raybone had two children she doted on,
One woman, who asked not to be named told The Gazette, said: “When I heard about Nikki’s death I thought it was some kind of joke.
“I didn’t know her too well, but my children know her children and it was clear they absolutely worshipped her. I can’t believe this has happened to her.”
Another neighbour added: “The news is just so sad.
“From what I knew, she had lived round this area all her life.
“I don’t think that many people know about what’s happened yet.”
It is thought Ms Raybone arrived on the island on a British Airways flight around 4pm on Thursday for the wedding.
The group spent some time at the all-inclusive Jolly Beach Resort, but later some members left to get something to eat at around 7pm, leaving Ms Raybone in the hotel complex.
When the rest of the party returned, Ms Raybone could not be found and her family alerted the hotel’s security and the police.
A search operation was launched and an hour later her body was discovered on the beach.
Senior Sgt William Holder, from the Strategic Communications Department (STRATCOM) in Antigua, said: “She was on the island for a wedding that should have been happening the following day. A family member was getting married.
“Obviously the family are very distressed, it’s a tragic situation.
“Her clothes were wet but it is not yet known whether she had been in the water or not.
“She was found on the shoreline between the surf and where the water breaks.”
The Foreign Office confirmed a British National had died in Antigua and consular assistance was being offered to the family who remain on the island.
Friends and relatives, who have posted tributes on-line, say Ms Raybone will be deeply missed.
Dave Barlow, who said he was Ms Raybone’s uncle, posted: “Nicola was the most pleasant girl I’ve ever met.
“Never once have I heard her raise her voice to anyone. She loved her kids unconditionally and she received the same back from them.
“My sister is inconsolable.
“None of this makes any sense to us, so please anyone with any information let the police know.
“I also realise it is most likely to be just a tragic accident but we need to know.
“RIP sweetheart, will never forget you.”
Kate, a friend, added: “This girl was my friend of 30 years and when I heard this news I cannot explain how shocked and upset I was. My thoughts go out to her family and especially her children who I know have a fantastic support system around them to get them through this terrible time.”
Andy Burston said: “RIP Nik. You will be missed very much. Very sad news indeed.”