A young schoolgirl has tragically died following a mudslide in Carlton-in-Cleveland yesterday afternoon with the victim identified as Leah Harrison, a pupil in Year 6 at Mount Pleasant Primary School in Darlington.

In a statement, the family of Leah Harrison, 10, from Darlington, said: “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 you dream and become a player for the Lionesses. Spread those wings. May you rest in paradise.”

The incident on the edge of the North York Moors National Park occurred around 1:15 pm on Wednesday, May 22nd. Emergency remained at the scene throughout the day to secure the area and manage the ongoing situation. A cordon was established by police to facilitate a safe and effective response.

Carlton Bank climbs steeply into the Cleveland Hills on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors

The incident happened during an instructor led walk by Carlton Adventure which is operated by Hartlepool Council. Managing Director Denise McGuckin released a statement saying: “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.”

School Statement

Mount Pleasant Primary School, where Leah attended, released a statement expressing their shock and grief. Lingfield Education Trust Chief Executive, Nick Blackburn, said:

“The full details are still emerging, but this is clearly a heartbreaking tragedy. Leah was a much-loved member of our school community, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and the school staff. Counselling is being arranged to support both pupils and staff during this time. We are all in a state of shock and would ask that the privacy of the family and the school community be respected as we try to come to terms with what has happened.”

Public Cooperation Requested

Road Closures Were In Place During the Incident Close to Lordstones at Carlton Bank

North Yorkshire Police yesterday urged the public to avoid the area to allow emergency workers to operate effectively. They are actively investigating the incident and will provide updates as they become available. Officials have also requested that the public refrain from speculation and spreading unverified information.

Mountain Rescue

Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team released a statement:

“During the early afternoon of Wednesday 22nd May 2024, we were called by the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust to a report of a mudslide near to Carlton Bank above Carlton-in-Cleveland village, North Yorkshire. A very short time later we were also contacted by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust with a similar report. Two Team Land Rovers and nineteen Cleveland MRT volunteer members were initially deployed, eventually rising to thirty at the scene during the course of the afternoon and working alongside our emergency service colleagues including the North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, in addition to the ambulance services.”

Vigil Organised

Locals have organised a vigil and balloon release on the big field next to Cockerton Park on Monday at 4pm in Memory of Leah.

This is a developing story. We will bring you further updates as they become available. Our thoughts are with Leah’s family, friends, and the entire Mount Pleasant Primary School community during this tragic time.