Crowds gather to remember two who died at Mutiny Festival
Friends and relatives of Georgia Jones and Tommy Cowan gathered at Leigh Park Gardens, releasing balloons in their memory.
Crowds of mourners flocked to a park to release balloons in memory of two youngsters who died after falling ill at a festival.
Tommy Cowan, 20, and 18-year-old Georgia Jones, both of Havant in Hampshire, died after attending Mutiny Festival in Portsmouth on Saturday night.
Friends and relatives of the pair gathered at Leigh Park Gardens, part of Staunton Country Park in Havant, on Monday evening with bunches of flowers and brightly coloured helium-filled balloons of all shapes and sizes.
Mr Cowan’s father arrived carrying a giant red heart-shaped balloon and hugged loved ones as he was offered condolences. He told how the two families had never met before but were brought together in the wake of the tragedy.
At least 100 people gathered on the steps of the park overlooking a lake and on the count of three let their balloons fly off up into the sunset.
People hugged each other and wailed in sorrow but then stood in silence for several minutes to watch the balloons drift off into the distance.
Ms Jones, a carer for people with learning and physical difficulties, was described by her family as a “very strong-willed and opinionated young lady.”
In a statement released by Hampshire police, they said: “She was a shoulder for anyone that needed it. She loved her job. We just hope she uses her ‘indoor voice’ wherever she may be.”
Mr Cowan, understood to have a one-year-old son and also known as Tommy Bakeer, was described as a “caring father”.
His father Damien Cowan told of his shock and sadness.
He said in a statement released on his behalf by police: “My baby boy, I miss you so much and can’t believe you are gone. Fly high with the angels and sleep well. Until we meet again, I love and miss you always.”
Mr Cowan was a “brilliant” friend, according to 19-year-old Jack Ford, who said they met at college studying uniformed services.
“He is such a caring guy who would do anything for anyone. He loved going out with his mates but most importantly loved spending time with his girlfriend and son,” said Mr Ford, who lives near Portsmouth.
“It was a big shock to lose such a great guy like him.”
The pair were among 15 revellers admitted to Queen Alexandra Hospital from the event that night, with organisers issuing a warning of a “high strength or bad batch” of drugs.
Three men are in custody after being arrested on suspicion of drug dealing.
Two 20-year-olds, from Havant and Waterlooville, and a 22-year-old from Cosham have been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs, police said.
The second day of the festival, which Craig David and Sean Paul were due to headline, was cancelled as a “safety precaution”.
We would like to apologise for the cancellation of today’s festival. But in the light of yesterday’s tragic...Posted by Mutiny Festivals on Sunday, May 27, 2018
A spokeswoman for the hospital said it was believed the pair were admitted after falling ill from the effects of drugs. Another person remains in a critical condition.
Police said Ms Jones had taken ill at the festival in King George V Playing Fields at 7.10pm before Mr Cowan was found collapsed 20 minutes later.
A further 12 festival-goers went to the hospital on Saturday, but their cases were “not necessarily all drugs-related”, the hospital spokeswoman said.
Three more attended on Sunday morning to be treated for injuries sustained in assaults or because of alcohol-related intoxication, the spokeswoman added.
Police said the deaths were separate incidents and were not suspicious.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of the two young people who lost their lives at @MutinyFestivals yesterday.❤— Craig David (@CraigDavid) May 27, 2018
Around 9.30pm on Saturday after the pair had taken ill, Mutiny warned it was “aware of a dangerous high-strength or bad-batch substance on site”, and that no drugs should be taken.
The festival announced the deaths, before adding: “Following the terrible news from earlier today, the team behind Mutiny Festival are incredibly sad to announce that the Sunday of the festival has been cancelled as a safety precaution.”
The organisers of the event, which was headlined by Dizzee Rascal on Saturday, also urged customers to “responsibly dispose” of any substances.
Sean Paul paid his respects to the loved ones of the pair who died, as did Craig David, who tweeted: “My heart goes out to the family and friends of the two young people who lost their lives at @MutinyFestivals yesterday.”