School in 'state of shock' as Darlington girl, 10, dies in mudslide on 'popular walk'

Chief Executive of the Lingfield Education Trust, Nick Blackburn. <i>(Image: TERRY BLACKBURN)</i>
Chief Executive of the Lingfield Education Trust, Nick Blackburn. (Image: TERRY BLACKBURN)

A Darlington schoolgirl died after a mudslide struck on a "popular walking route" whilst on a school trip, the trust has said.

Leah Harrison, 10, a year six pupil at Mount Pleasant Primary School, was taking part in a "standard" outdoor adventure trip yesterday with her fellow year six pupils when disaster struck.

Whilst on a "popular walking route" at Carlton Bank, near Stokesley, just after 1pm, which is said to be used by schools who visit the site, a mudslide struck and despite the best efforts of emergency services, Leah lost her life.

The Northern Echo: Leah Harrison.
The Northern Echo: Leah Harrison.

Leah Harrison. (Image: Terry Blackburn)

Chief Executive of the Lingfield Education Trust, Nick Blackburn has this morning spoken on behalf of the school, paying tribute to Leah and adding that the school community remains in a "state of shock".

Mr Blackburn said: “Leah had her heart set on being a Lioness. She was a really friendly, lovely and bubbly pupil at the school who was well-loved by her friends and the school community.

“We have layers of support here at the school, we have an in-school counsellor who is available for all children today.

“We are also working with a specialist trauma counsellor for some of the pupils who were on the trip.”

Flowers and even a soft teddy football have already been left on school grounds saying 'Leah No1' with the school now also looking about how to pay tribute to her.

The Northern Echo: Chief Executive of the Lingfield Education Trust, Nick Blackburn.
The Northern Echo: Chief Executive of the Lingfield Education Trust, Nick Blackburn.

Chief Executive of the Lingfield Education Trust, Nick Blackburn. (Image: TERRY BLACKBURN)

Mr Blackburn added: “Parents have been bringing in flowers this morning already for Leah and we are looking into how best we can organise ourselves in her memory.

“We know that Leah’s mum has organised a balloon release next Monday.”

Leah's family have also paid tribute to their "beautiful" girl in a heartbreaking statement online.

They wrote: "God only takes the best, please let me tell you he's taken the best there ever was!

"I've been asked to put a message on to thank everyone who has messaged, called and said their condolences it has not gone unnoticed but as a family we are still taking in what has happened to our beautiful Leah.

The Northern Echo: Tributes left outside the school for Leah.
The Northern Echo: Tributes left outside the school for Leah.

Tributes left outside the school for Leah. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

"Please may we ask for people to give us this time to grieve and come to terms with this news. We all appreciate everything everyone is doing.


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"Leah Harrison, the happy bubbly go lucky little girl. The beautiful smile, the giddy laugh the silly jokes.

"You will never ever be forgotten baby girl You will achieve your dream and become a player for the lionesses spread those wings, may you rest in paradise."

The family are now planning to hold a balloon release for Leah next week to celebrate her life and have invited family and friends to join them.