Community tributes have poured in for a ‘bright, articulate, thoughtful and caring’ teenager who tragically died from a severe allergic reaction after eating a takeaway meal.
Megan Lee, 15, passed away on New Year’s Day after eating food from a takeaway in the Hyndburn area.
Police - assisted by Trading Standards officials - have launched an investigation into the her death and Blackburn Coroner’s Office has also been notified.
Her parents Adam and Gemma Lee, from Oswaldtwistle, said their ‘hearts are shattered at the sudden loss of our beautiful daughter’.
The St Christopher’s High school pupil was a talented and popular member of the ReAct Academy of Theatre Arts, based at Oswaldtwistle Civic Arts Centre.
Academy principal Cassandra Webster told the Observer that Megan was ‘beautiful and full of life’ and had a ‘bright future’.
She said: “She was a bubbly, fun, super kid who had a lot of potential and I know was looking forward to doing our next shows in the summer.
“It’s heartbreaking that she is not going to be there and be involved but we are going to dedicate the shows to her in her memory. It will make it feel like she is part of it in some way.
“Because we have never been through anything like this and it’s such a horrendous and unusual thing, it’s almost as though you don’t want to accept it.
“You almost want to snap out of it and go ‘it’s not real’.
“We could see how bright her future was and it just seems so cruel and horrible.”
Cassandra said she had been involved for over five years and was looking forward to performing in their summer production of West Side Story.
She added: “She regularly attended drama and music theatre classes every week which she loved with a passion.
“She was also involved with many of our big productions and loved being on stage, singing and dancing.
“She had a great group of friends and they just adored her. They are going to miss her tremendously and it’s going to be very difficult for them, but we will support them and remember her in a positive way,
“She was always happy and always smiling and lovely with everyone. She was never down and everyone loved being around her.”
Richard Jones, headmaster at St Christopher’s High School in Accrington, said she had ‘so much potential’ and they will ‘miss her terribly’.
He said: “As a school community – governors, staff and pupils – we offer our thoughts and prayers to the Lee family at this difficult and testing time.
“Megan was a most wonderful young lady who brought a smile to the face of everyone that she met.
“She was the epitome of a St Christopher’s pupil: bright, articulate, thoughtful and caring, and full of so much potential.
“We miss her terribly and will continue to in the days, months and years to come.”
In a statement issued by Megan’s devastated parents, they said: “A role model, an inspiration, our Princess, our Megan.
“Our hearts are shattered at the sudden loss of our beautiful daughter.
“Megan loved school and thoroughly enjoyed drama and musical theatre. She immediately touched the hearts of everyone she ever met.
“Megan was the kindest, most loving daughter and sister, who always wore the most beautiful and infectious smile.
“May we kindly request that our privacy is respected at this devastating time.”
Neighbours in Oswaldtwistle have also spoken of their shock and sadness.
One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s an absolute tragedy what’s happened. Everybody is shocked and surprised.”
Another resident said: “One of the neighbours told me what happened. It’s so terribly sad and for someone so young.”
Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said: “Our thoughts go out to the family at this time.
“With this tragic incident it’s a deep concern and the council will clearly want to be informed about the due process.”
Oswaldtwistle councillor Peter Britcliffe said the community have been left shocked by her death.
He said: “It’s so very sad when a tragedy like this occurs, especially with somebody so young,
“This is a close-knit community and people are certainly very shocked by this.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends at this dreadful time for them.”
Police said Megan was admitted to hospital on Friday, December 30 and passed away on Sunday, January 1.
A police spokesperson said: “We are investigating the sudden death of a 15-year-old girl from Oswaldtwistle who passed away at Royal Blackburn Hospital after suffering a severe allergic reaction.
“She had eaten food from a takeaway in the Hyndburn area and was admitted to hospital on Friday, December 30 but sadly passed away on New Year’s Day, January 1.
“We are currently carrying out enquiries on behalf of the coroner. A post mortem examination to establish the cause of her death has taken place, however the full results will not be known for some time.
“Our thoughts remain with the family of the girl at this extremely sad and difficult time.”
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council, said: "This is a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the girl's family and friends. Our Trading Standards team is assisting the police with their enquiries."