Ellie is always in our hearts - Lowestoft turns out to pay touching tribute to teenager found dead in park
- Credit: Archant
The father of a 'beautiful' teenager found dead in Lowestoft paid a touching tribute to his daughter on a visit to the park where her body was discovered.
Schoolgirl Ellie Grant was reported missing at 5.30am last Monday and officers found her body at Kirkley Fen Park in the Suffolk town 30 minutes later.
Her dad, Gary Grant, joined more than 200 people at a special event in the park on Friday to commemorate the East Point Academy pupil's life.
Balloons and lanterns, many inscribed with messages addressed to the teenager, were released in her memory. The event, which was organised by Ellie's school friends, ended with a fireworks display.
Mr Grant said: 'Thank you to everyone who has come along and to everyone who has helped organise everything here - Ellie is always in our hearts.'
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An online fundraising page was set up to help the teenager's family pay for the 'the send off she deserves' following the tragedy. And it raised more than £1,500 in three days - three times its initial target of £500.
A statement on the gofundme page said: 'On Monday 13th March our family tragically and unexpectedly lost our beautiful and beloved Ellie - with the circumstances being so sudden and something we could not have forseen we as a family have set up this page to welcome any friends and those close to Ellie who are able to help to give her the send off she deserves - all donations received will help towards her big send off and celebration of her life afterwards with all her family and ones who loved our precious baby.'
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Floral tributes were also left at her school where support was offered to fellow pupils.
Academy principal Richard Dolding had described Ellie as 'vibrant' and 'very popular'.
There are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
Mr Dolding said: 'I am sorry to have to relay to you that we were informed by police on Monday morning of the sad news of the death of one of our Year 11 students.
'The police are treating it as an unexpected but not suspicious death at this time. This is upsetting news for the whole school community, and we will be providing support for students with the help of Suffolk County Council's critical incident support team.'