We may never know why our healthy daughter died

The grief-stricken parents of a young woman have spoken of their heartbreak after their "beautiful girl" and "best friend" went to sleep and never woke up.

Heather Bilton-Cooper was an active 27-year-old who enjoyed outdoor pursuits such as horse riding, water skiing and shooting.

But on June 23, the south Norfolk woman went to bed at her home in Tibenham after a day's work and suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.

Her parents, Nigel and Carol Bilton, said they were struggling to come to terms with circumstances of the death of their daughter, who had no diagnosed heart condition, and may never find out why her heart stopped beating.

The couple, of Tivetshall St Margaret, said they wanted to raise the profile of the Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) charity, which is raising awareness of sudden adult death syndrome.

Hundreds of mourners packed into the parish church at Tibenham for her funeral on Friday where almost two years previously she married Gary Cooper, who she met at a local shoot four years ago.

Mrs Bilton-Cooper, who had recently started a new job at a catering company in Pulham Market, returned home on June 23 and never woke up after lying down on her bed at about 6pm.

The former pupil of Archbishop Sancroft High and City College Norwich student had previously worked at the Pelican Playschool in Tacolneston where she shared her love of craftwork with the children.

Her father Nigel, 62, said a post-mortem examination had revealed nothing untoward and there was no history of sudden adult death syndrome in the family.

"She was perfectly healthy and had done a day's work. It is so weird. I do not think we will ever come to terms with it. She loved the countryside and outdoor life and used to come water skiing, she loved horse riding and all of those sorts of pursuits and she loved travelling."

Mr Bilton added that it was hard to tell people why their daughter had died so suddenly.

"There are 12 cases of this (in the UK) every week and that may surprise a lot of people. The biggest problem is that there is no closure," he said.

Mrs Bilton, 51, added that her daughter's ultimate dream was to start her own family.

"She was just a happy person. She touched a lot of people's hearts and she had a gift to make people smile. She was just a home-loving country girl and she was our best friend. Why would she put her head down and not wake up?"