Tributes to tragic Oswaldtwistle teen who died after falling from Accrington Arndale

Lauren Johnson fell to her death from the top of the Arndale Centre’s car park

Lauren Johnson fell to her death from the top of the Arndale Centre’s car park

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Hyndburn reporter

THE devastated parents of tragic teen Lauren Johnson have said ‘our daughter’s death needs to be the last’ at Accrington’s Arndale Centre.

The 17-year-old died after falling from the top of the centre’s car park, in Union Street, last Thursday, leading to renewed calls for improved safety measures after five deaths in five years there.

In a statement, the Burnley-born student’s mum and dad, Dawn and Ian, said: “There is a lot of public interest in the way she died and the issues surr-ounding the Arndale Centre. We have spoken to the manager and expressed our views that everything possible needs to be done to stop another tragedy.

“Services need to work tog-ether to make the Arndale Centre less accessible to incidents like this, and do all they can to ensure safety.”

The pair also paid tribute to Lauren, from Blackburn Road, Oswaldtwistle, and described her as ‘an altruistic, selfless, intelligent young lady, who always saw the good in people’.

They said: “She was a beautiful young lady, with a beautiful soul, and was loved very much.

“However, the difficulties she experienced with her mental health took her away from us.

“We were privileged to have spent her short life with her, and it is a void that can never be filled.”

One of Lauren’s friends, Michael Pope, has pledged to create a lasting legacy for Lauren by opening a safe haven for young people with mental health issues in Accrington - a charity called Lauren’s Place.

The 30-year-old said Lauren had hoped to become an ambassador for young people battl-ing to overcome their demons.

He said: “It was her dream, so this will make sure her dreams come true.

“We want to offer 24-hour support, and somewhere to go when people are at that point in life where Lauren was, when they are being failed by the org-anisations that are supposed to be there to help.”

A meeting will be held in the town later today to discuss plans, and Michael, who lived in Burnley before moving to North Shore, in Blackpool, said Lauren’s mum would be invited to become trustee.

Michael, who met Lauren through his band Laufeia, said: “When you spoke to Lauren, it was hard to believe she was only 17.

“She was so intelligent and humble.

“She was the type of girl you would want your daughter to grow up and be.”

More than 2,200 people have joined a Facebook group calling for the Arndale Centre to be ‘made safe, or knocked down’, And more than 500 people have also signed an online petition addressed to the Arn-dale Centre’s owners, titled ‘Stop public access to the roof of Accrington Arndale’.

A march from the town hall to the Arndale Centre, from 11am on Saturday, is planned.

Management has since pledged to work with the council and the Samaritans to ‘prevent further incidents’.

Lauren’s funeral will be held at Accrington Crematorium tomorrow, at 3pm.

Mourners have been asked to adorn odd socks, a trend fashioned by Lauren.

The family has asked for donations, in lieu of flowers, to go to Child Line, or Young Minds.

Comments (13)

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12:20pm Thu 12 Jun 14

BRFC195 says...

A brilliant legacy and one which I will certainly support , there needs to be more done to support people suffering mental health problems which will happen to all of us at some point in our life's, so many agency's are failing us and it's left to the ambulance service or the police or our a & e departments to help people when they have reached the point of pure desperation or help pick up the pieces when people have gone beyond that, with the crisis team and social services passing the book ...such a tragic story but I'm sure Lauren's legacy will live on and save life's
A brilliant legacy and one which I will certainly support , there needs to be more done to support people suffering mental health problems which will happen to all of us at some point in our life's, so many agency's are failing us and it's left to the ambulance service or the police or our a & e departments to help people when they have reached the point of pure desperation or help pick up the pieces when people have gone beyond that, with the crisis team and social services passing the book ...such a tragic story but I'm sure Lauren's legacy will live on and save life's BRFC195
  • Score: 28

12:43pm Thu 12 Jun 14

cathedral citi says...

What a tragic loss.......I feel so sorry for the parents, as parents should never be burying their offspring.......

So many young souls find themselves in a 'dark place' which they find impossible to get out of, thus the tragic consequences.......

I know that Lauren's death won't be in vain.

God bless, and rest in peace, beautiful girl.
What a tragic loss.......I feel so sorry for the parents, as parents should never be burying their offspring....... So many young souls find themselves in a 'dark place' which they find impossible to get out of, thus the tragic consequences....... I know that Lauren's death won't be in vain. God bless, and rest in peace, beautiful girl. cathedral citi
  • Score: 17

3:17pm Thu 12 Jun 14

caballo says...

All very sad but I'm afraid the Arndale hasn't killed anyone!
All very sad but I'm afraid the Arndale hasn't killed anyone! caballo
  • Score: 8

3:45pm Thu 12 Jun 14

HarryBosch says...

BRFC195 exactly what you said fella.
RIP Lauren.
BRFC195 exactly what you said fella. RIP Lauren. HarryBosch
  • Score: 2

5:59pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Anal Revenge says...

I really do not understand why there is so much support to move the problem elsewhere, there is an aqueduct not to far away. I really do not think this is going to solve anything apart from the location of these tragedy's.

When suicidal people can no longer get to the top of arndale, they are not going to change their mind and go home. Perhaps they will jump in front of a train, where the train driver will suffer also.

Treat the cause not the symptom.
I really do not understand why there is so much support to move the problem elsewhere, there is an aqueduct not to far away. I really do not think this is going to solve anything apart from the location of these tragedy's. When suicidal people can no longer get to the top of arndale, they are not going to change their mind and go home. Perhaps they will jump in front of a train, where the train driver will suffer also. Treat the cause not the symptom. Anal Revenge
  • Score: 12

7:11pm Thu 12 Jun 14

mavrick says...

A Sad tragic loss, perhaps mental health teams need to be better funded and therefore more easily accessible to young people.
A Sad tragic loss, perhaps mental health teams need to be better funded and therefore more easily accessible to young people. mavrick
  • Score: 10

12:14am Fri 13 Jun 14

Violet432 says...

Yes someone that is suicidal might find somewhere else to end their life but the Arndale is easily accessible and a known place to jump, making it less accessible may save someone's life. You wouldn't think that selling paracetamol in blister packs instead of tubs and limiting the amount sold at one time would make a difference but it does! R.I.P Lauren, such a tradgedy.
Yes someone that is suicidal might find somewhere else to end their life but the Arndale is easily accessible and a known place to jump, making it less accessible may save someone's life. You wouldn't think that selling paracetamol in blister packs instead of tubs and limiting the amount sold at one time would make a difference but it does! R.I.P Lauren, such a tradgedy. Violet432
  • Score: 2

12:17am Fri 13 Jun 14

Interlocutor says...

Chicken wire. Over the 'windows' and in the form of an inward-leaning fence around the roof. Making it that bit harder to jump - and at little expense - may be enough to save a life, stalling or stymieing someone for long enough to change their mind. It isn't a fix for their problems but it's better than nothing.

It's also a very obvious measure, and it's baffling that 5 lives have ended over the course of several years without even this meagre action being taken. Do the Arndale owners simply not care?
Chicken wire. Over the 'windows' and in the form of an inward-leaning fence around the roof. Making it that bit harder to jump - and at little expense - may be enough to save a life, stalling or stymieing someone for long enough to change their mind. It isn't a fix for their problems but it's better than nothing. It's also a very obvious measure, and it's baffling that 5 lives have ended over the course of several years without even this meagre action being taken. Do the Arndale owners simply not care? Interlocutor
  • Score: -1

1:14am Fri 13 Jun 14

BuckoTheMoose says...

A person who is set on ending their life will find a way to do it. The Arndale Centre is not responsible for this. Adding additional security measures will just move the problem elsewhere.

Address the issue of why people kill themselves, not how they do it.
A person who is set on ending their life will find a way to do it. The Arndale Centre is not responsible for this. Adding additional security measures will just move the problem elsewhere. Address the issue of why people kill themselves, not how they do it. BuckoTheMoose
  • Score: 4

12:24pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Interlocutor says...

What's wrong with addressing both?
What's wrong with addressing both? Interlocutor
  • Score: 2

12:31pm Fri 13 Jun 14

BuckoTheMoose says...

Interlocutor wrote:
What's wrong with addressing both?
One can have a positive affect, the other is a complete waste of time and money.

There are too many ways for someone to take their life. They cannot possible be eradicated or even reduced significantly in number. As someone above pointed out, if she couldn't throw herself off a car park, might she have thrown herself under a train? Affecting many more people than just herself.

We need to address why people feel the need to end their lives and do something about that. It's the only way to have a real impact on suicides.
[quote][p][bold]Interlocutor[/bold] wrote: What's wrong with addressing both?[/p][/quote]One can have a positive affect, the other is a complete waste of time and money. There are too many ways for someone to take their life. They cannot possible be eradicated or even reduced significantly in number. As someone above pointed out, if she couldn't throw herself off a car park, might she have thrown herself under a train? Affecting many more people than just herself. We need to address why people feel the need to end their lives and do something about that. It's the only way to have a real impact on suicides. BuckoTheMoose
  • Score: 3

5:06pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Violet432 says...

I would say judging by some of the comments on here that most people commenting know little about research into the motivation and oppotunity of suicide, small steps can be taken that can make a difrerance and if the oppotunity and motivation can be reduced in just one person resulting in them stalling long enough to be able to get even a small amount of help, it may save their life, surely that would be worth it???
I would say judging by some of the comments on here that most people commenting know little about research into the motivation and oppotunity of suicide, small steps can be taken that can make a difrerance and if the oppotunity and motivation can be reduced in just one person resulting in them stalling long enough to be able to get even a small amount of help, it may save their life, surely that would be worth it??? Violet432
  • Score: -2

6:11pm Fri 13 Jun 14

vics78 says...

R.I.P Gone but not forgotten, deepest sympathy to all her family.
R.I.P Gone but not forgotten, deepest sympathy to all her family. vics78
  • Score: 2

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