Mushroom lunch: Powerful moment sole survivor Ian Wilkinson arrives at his wife’s memorial service
Heather Wilkinson, 66, was one of four people who ate beef wellington at Erin Patterson’s Leongatha home in the state’s southeast on July 29
The sole survivor of a deadly mushroom lunch has arrived at the memorial service of his late wife in his first public appearance since falling ill himself.
Heather Wilkinson, 66, was one of four people who ate beef wellington at Erin Patterson’s Leongatha home in the state’s southeast on July 29.
Ms Wilkinson died after the lunch, as did her sister Gail Patterson and brother-in-law Don Patterson, both 70.
Ms Wilkinson’s husband Ian Wilkinson, 68, also became critically ill after the lunch and spent close to two months in hospital.
The Baptist church pastor returned home on September 22, and was on Wednesday seen using a walking frame as he arrived at the memorial.
Ms Wilkinson, a mother-of-four and grandmother, is being remembered in a service at the Korumburra Indoor Recreation Centre with dozens of family members, friends, parishioners all in attendance.
Ms Patterson’s ex-husband Simon Patterson was among the 300 attendees at the service, with Mr Wilkinson seated at the front.
Mr Wilkinson’s son Dave choked back tears as he paid tribute to his mother.
He said Don and Gail Patterson, who both perished at the same lunch, were instrumental in her life, particularly in supporting her strong Christian faith.
The couple had met Ms Wilkinson in her home town of Hughesdale where the friends all grew up.
It remains unknown if Mr Wilkinson will address the congregation himself.
Ms Wilkinson’s family had earlier thanked the Korumburra community, church, friends, family, and colleagues for their support and prayers.
‘This collective kindness has been a pillar of strength for Ian and the family, reinforcing the sense of unity and compassion that defines our community,’ the statement said.
Ian Wilkinson is seen arriving at the memorial service of his wife Heather on Wednesday
Ms Patterson’s ex-husband Simon Patterson was among the 300 attendees at the service
Loved ones of Ms Wilkinson are seen arriving at the memorial service in Korumburra, Victoria on Wednesday
Police believe the symptoms the four diners experienced were consistent with being poisoned by death cap mushrooms.
Ms Patterson is considered a suspect as she cooked the lunch that is believed to have led to the deaths.
She was interviewed by police and released without charge but has since faced intense media scrutiny.
Ms Wilkinson died after the lunch. Her husband Ian (pictured together) recently returned home after spending two months in hospital
In a statement to police, Ms Patterson said she made a beef wellington using button mushrooms from a major supermarket and dried mushrooms bought at an Asian grocery store.
The 46-year-old said she ate a serving and later suffered bad stomach pains and diarrhoea, contrary to the suggestion of detectives that she did not fall ill.
Victoria Police have not commented on Ms Patterson’s statement other than to say it was not one taken by officers, nor have they provided any updates on their investigation.
In a statement to police, Ms Patterson said she made a beef wellington using button mushrooms from a major supermarket and dried mushrooms bought at an Asian grocery store