‘Our hearts are broken’: Family of mother and daughter who died in suspected boat carbon monoxide poisoning on Lake Windermere pay tribute to ‘two beautiful girls’

The family of a mother and daughter who suffocated on a boat yards from hundreds of day-trippers have paid tribute to their ‘two beautiful girls taken so tragic and so soon’.

Kelly Webster, 36, and Lauren Thornton, ten, died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at a Lake District beauty spot.

They had been enjoying an Easter break on Windermere and were moored on a public jetty when they were apparently overcome by fumes from a faulty generator, fitted to a small motor cruiser owned by Miss Webster’s partner Matthew Eteson.

The family of Miss Webster, from Leyland, Lancashire, and Lauren have now released a statement paying tribute to the mother and daughter.

The family said: ‘Our two beautiful girls taken so tragic and so too soon.

‘We all love you so very much words will never say.

‘Our hearts are broken and we will miss you forever.’

Lauren’s father Neil Thornton said: ‘My darling daughter lollipop, you were everything to me, a light has gone that will never be replaced.

‘Sweet dreams, goodnight, god bless, Daddy.’

Police were called to the scene on Monday by Mr Eteson, 39, who had managed to stagger ashore after the family had been overcome by the fumes.

Within minutes, police, ambulance, fire brigade and rescue helicopters descended on Bowness Bay, which was packed with visitors on a sunny Easter Monday.

Firefighters clambered into the Bayliner motor boat. They emerged with Miss Webster and Lauren.
Paramedics tried to revive them before they were airlifted to Royal Lancaster Infirmary, where both were pronounced dead. Mr Eteson was taken by ambulance to the hospital and was discharged yesterday.

Further tributes have also been paid from Lauren’s school, St Anne’s Catholic Primary in Leyland.

Father Jonathan Cotton OBE, a governor and parish priest of Leyland St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, said: ‘It’s very, very sad. We had somebody at Mass in church who had taught her and I remember her very well from the occasional times I took Mass in school.

‘She had red hair and a big smile.

‘Lauren was always a very lovely, enthusiastic, engaging and friendly girl.’

In a statement, St Anne’s headteacher Michael Barrett said: ‘Lauren was a bright, happy and delightful Year 6 pupil at St Anne’s. We as a school community are deeply saddened by the tragic events in the Lake District over the Easter weekend.

‘Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Lauren and her mother Kelly.

‘Lauren played a full part in all the activities in our school and was much loved by her fellow pupils and staff. The whole school will be devastated at this sad news.

‘During the coming days weeks and months it is important that we give our fullest support to the pupils and to each other.’

Police have confirmed that their inquiries centre on a generator which the family, from Leyland, Lancashire, may have turned on to power a heater as temperatures struggled to get above freezing.

Detective Inspector Mike  Brown, of Cumbria Police, said: ‘Although it is too soon to rule  anything out, carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected. It is an absolute tragedy.

‘What we are looking at specifically is an aftermarket generator that has been fitted in the engine compartment of the boat which we believe may be the cause of this.’

Marine experts are to examine the boat. The coroner for South Cumbria has been informed and post mortem examinations were due to be carried out.

Police have said they are not treating the deaths as suspicious and inquiries are ongoing.


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