A school in Blackburn has raised hundreds of pounds in memory of a former pupil who died of anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction

Talented Órla Baxendale, from Helmshore, was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at 18-months-old.

Earlier this year she died, aged 25, after eating a cookie that contained undisclosed peanuts.

In memory of the professional dancer, who had moved to New York in 2018 to pursue her dancing career, Órla’s former school, Westholme School, dedicated their production of musical Les Miserables to her.

Lancashire Telegraph: Leaflets of Les Misérables production at Westholme School, in memory of Órla BaxendaleLeaflets of Les Misérables production at Westholme School, in memory of Órla Baxendale (Image: Westholme School)

Órla’s brother and sister, Rowan and Niamh Baxendale, were in the audience for one of the performances.

A total of £918.62 was raised through the shows, including cash collected on the night and online donations across the five nights.

The money will be donated to Anaphylaxis UK, an allergy charity close to Órla’s heart.

Jonathan Oracz, head of sixth form, said Órla was a “special student” who “brightened up the school”.

Lancashire Telegraph: Westholme School's Les Misérables production collecting moneyWestholme School's Les Misérables production collecting money (Image: Westholme School)

He said: “I had the privilege of teaching all three of the Baxendale sisters and I felt it was important for the school to honour Órla in any way possible. 

“Niamh spoke to me after the funeral and, given how many times Órla lit up the Westholme stage with her unique talent, we decided to dedicate our production of Les Misérables to her.

"She was a born performer and it felt right that we honoured her through our Performing Arts department.  

 “Órla was a very special student who brightened up the school with her kindness, wonderful smile and warm personality.

"She was so carefree, and just brilliant in every way. Órla and her family will always be a part of the Westholme family.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Órla Baxendale's siblings, Rowan and Niamh Baxendale, at Westholme SchoolÓrla Baxendale's siblings, Rowan and Niamh Baxendale, at Westholme School (Image: Niamh Baxendale)

Órla was a lifelong member of Anaphylaxis UK.

She was said to be incredibly diligent with her allergies and always checked ingredients carefully, carried at least two epi-pens at all times and educated all her family and friends about what to do in the event of an emergency. 

A fundraiser has been set up on JustGiving and anyone can make a donation.

Lancashire Telegraph: Órla BaxendaleÓrla Baxendale (Image: Brian Dowling)

The former St Veronica's Primary School pupil had eaten cookies manufactured by Cookies United, an American baking company, and sold by Stew Leonard’s, a supermarket chain in America, when she died.

She was preparing for an Alice in Wonderland performance in New Milford, Connecticut.

An investigation is now ongoing to determine who is responsible for the fatal error.

 In February St Veronica's Primary School paid tribute to Órla, raising £300 for  Anaphylaxis UK by hosting a non-uniform day.

To make a donation to the the fundraiser visit the JustGiving page called 'Fundraiser in memory of Órla (Anaphylaxis UK)'