Tributes paid to Darlington schoolgirl Leah Harrison, 10, who died in North Yorkshire mudslide

Jennie Henry has been to learning about the 10-year-old who dreamed of becoming a Lionness, but died on a school trip.

Tributes have been paid to a "happy, bubbly, go-lucky" ten-year-old girl who died following a mudslide in North Yorkshire.

Leah Harrison, from Darlington, died in a mudslide on the edge of the North York Moors National Park on Wednesday 22 May.

Thirty mountain rescuers were among a huge emergency services response following the tragedy which happened near Carlton Bank, above Carlton-in-Cleveland village, at about 1:15pm.

North Yorkshire Police later confirmed one person had died but that there were no other injuries.

Leah, who was on a school trip to outdoor education centre Carlton Adventure, was on a walk as part of a shelter-building activity when the mudslide happened.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be carrying out a joint investigation with North Yorkshire Police into the incident, a spokesperson confirmed.

Leah has been described by her family as a "happy, bubbly, go-lucky little girl".

They said: "The beautiful smile, the giddy laugh, the silly jokes. You will never ever be forgotten baby girl.

"You will achieve you dream and become a player for the Lionesses. Spread those wings. May you rest in paradise."

The mudslide happened at Carlton-in-Cleveland, on the edge of the North York Moors National Park. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

North Yorkshire Police said Leah’s family were being supported by specially trained officers and the force asked for them to be given space to grieve.

Flowers, balloons and a football have been left in tribute to the Year 6 pupil at Mount Pleasant Primary School, in Darlington, where support is being offered to those affected.

Lingfield Education Trust chief executive, Nick Blackburn, told ITV Tyne Tees Leah lived with her mum and siblings, who he described as being "absolutely devastated".

In a tribute to Leah, he said: “The full details are still emerging but this is clearly a heartbreaking tragedy.

"Leah was a much-loved part of our school and our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and the school staff.

"Counselling is being arranged within the school for pupils and staff.

"We are all in a state of shock and we would ask that the privacy of the family and the school community is respected while we try to come to terms with what has happened.”

He told ITV Tyne Tees her school teacher described her as a "remarkable young lady" who "started every day with a huge smile on her face".

With a passion for football, her dream was to play on the pitch as a Lioness, he added.

Flowers, balloons, notes and a football have been left in tribute to Leah Harrison at Mount Pleasant Primary School in Darlington. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Darlington FC confirmed Leah was an Under 11 player for the club.

They also paid tribute to the youngster who they described as "a very popular member of our under 11 girls team" who had "many friends at the club".

Her coach, John Woolnough, said: “We are devastated to hear of the tragic passing of Leah, who only joined our football family this season but had quickly become a popular member amongst the girls.

“She was a joy to coach — always smiling and trying her best — and had shown big improvements during her time with us.

“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this terrible time."

The club said its Under 11 game this weekend had been postponed as a mark of respect while all other games involving its youth teams would hold a minute’s silence before kick off.

It has been confirmed Leah was on a trip to outdoor education centre Carlton Adventure.

Hartlepool Borough Council, which operates the facility, said an investigation has begun while all outdoor activities and residential breaks managed by the authority have been suspended.

Denise McGuckin, managing director of Hartlepool Borough Council, which operates Carlton Adventure said: "We can confirm that a tragic incident occurred during one of the Centre’s instructor-led outdoor education forest walks near to Carlton-in-Cleveland yesterday.

"We are utterly devastated and heartbroken and our thoughts are with Leah’s family and friends and all those affected.

"We are working closely with our partner agencies to carry out a full investigation and we are temporarily suspending all outdoor activities and residential breaks managed by the Council.

"Whilst the investigation is being carried out it would be inappropriate for us to comment further."

A spokesperson for the Health and Safety Executive said: "We are aware of this incident and working with North Yorkshire Police on a joint investigation."

Thirty mountain rescuers were among a huge emergency services response following the tragedy. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Emergency services attended the scene on Wednesday, including North Yorkshire Police, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and 30 members of Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team (MRT).

The mudslide came during a period of torrential downpours - with around a month’s worth of rain falling in 24 hours.

According to the Met Office, an Environment Agency rain gauge at nearby Easby recorded 45mm of rain in the 24 hour period from 9pm on Tuesday to 9pm on Wednesday.

While the Met Office did not officially record any record-breaking levels, the weather was deemed very unusual and locally it may have been the wettest 24 hour period on record for the month of May in North Yorkshire.

Emergency services at the scene at Carlton-in-Cleveland on Wednesday. Credit: Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team

Gary Clarke, call out officer, told ITV Tyne Tees the incident was "very unusual" for the team, adding: "We can't recall anything of this nature happening before."

He continued: "The conditions yesterday were very extreme with the rain but what happened just seems to be some sort of freak incident."

Mr Clark added that it was a "very tough time for the team" but offered the team's deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Leah.

Local councillor David Hugill said: “I’m absolutely shocked and devastated that something like this has happened in my area, and I’m thinking of the loved ones of the person who lost their life. It’s really horrible what’s happened.”

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