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

TRAGIC: Lauren and Kelly
TRAGIC: Lauren and Kelly
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The family of a Leyland mother and daughter who died in the Lake District over Easter have paid tribute to their “two beautiful girls”.

Kelly Webster, 36, from Church Road, Leyland, and her 10-year-old daughter Lauren Thornton, tragically died after suffering serious breathing difficulties on a boat on Lake Windermere.

It is suspected that their deaths were caused by some form of gas poisoning, specifically carbon monoxide, and police are investigating whether a generator fitted on board the yacht is to blame.

Matthew Eteson, aged 39 and Kelly’s partner, who owns the Bayliner yacht, was taken to Royal Lancaster Hospital where he was released the following day.

Now, Lauren’s devastated father, Neil Thornton, has described how a “light has gone out” in his life.

He said: “My darling daughter lollipop, you were everything to me.

“A light has gone out that will never be replaced.

“Sweet dreams, goodnight, god bless, Daddy.”

The family of Kelly and Lauren added: “Our two beautiful girls taken so tragic and too soon.

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

“Our hearts are broken and we will miss you forever.”

The pair were airlifted to hospital on Monday afternoon, after reports that they had suffered cardiac arrests following carbon monoxide poisoning aboard the boat, which was moored to a jetty in Bowness.

Police said Mr Eteson raised the alarm after they started experiencing breathing difficulties.

Det Insp Mike Brown, who is leading the investigation, said Ms Webster and her daughter were both found in the rear of the boat.

He said that “all signs” indicated that carbon monoxide poisoning was responsible for the deaths.

He said: “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.

“But, again, it’s still early stages in the investigation so we can’t rule anything out.”

He added: “It’s an absolute tragedy. Everyone is in bits over this.”

Tony Rothwell, who runs the Bowness Bay marina, said: “The boat had been fitted with a generator and the exhaust has leaked.

“It had been a very cold day and the fan heater was connected to the generator. It is a terrible tragedy.”

All three were regular visitors to the area, and had arrived at the lake on Easter Sunday.

Yesterday, neighbours in Church Road spoke of their shock over the deaths, and floral tributes were left outside Ms Webster’s home.

Michael Barrett, headteacher at St Anne’s Catholic Primary School in Leyland, where young Lauren attended, 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.

“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.”

A spokesman for Leyland-based company Enterprise, where Kelly worked, said: “We were deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of Kelly and her daughter, Lauren, at the weekend.

“Kelly was an employee of Enterprise for a number of years and she was well-liked and valued by everyone who knew and worked with her.

“We know she will be missed by her friends and former colleagues alike.

“Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathy are with her family at this sad time.”