THE PARENTS of Eleanor McGrath have paid tribute to a "wonderful daughter" who lit up the lives of all who knew her.

John and Gillian McGrath spoke of the void that would be left in their lives after their 14-year-old daughter was struck by a car in Tyrone Road, Shoebury.

They said: "Eleanor loved life and was a wonderful daughter. She would often laugh so much that she cried tears and had a kind and loving nature.

"She had a good sense of humour and was a great impersonator. She really was a much loved sister, daughter, grand-daughter and friend.

"She lit up the lives of all who knew her and this tragic incident has left a void that will never be filled.

Eleanor lived at her home in Bishopsteignton, Shoebury, with her 46-year-old parents, brother Richard, 17, and family dog Dexter.

She was head girl at Thorpedene Infant and Junior Schools before going on to Southend High School for Girls.

Friends leave sea of flowers for Eleanor

FRIENDS have left a sea of flowers at the scene of a crash which claimed the live of a "lovely, beautiful" teenager.

Eleanor McGrath, 14, had been on life support since Friday night, after a Citroen C1 ploughed into her and 13 others who were celebrating a pal’s birthday in Tyrone Road, Thorpe Bay.

Youngsters from Southend High School for Girls and Southend High School for Boys made a pilgrimage to the site to pay their final respects yesterday.

Robyn Althasen, of Parkanaur Avenue, Thorpe Bay, was one of many who left flowers at the site in Tyrone Road.

The 18-year-old said her sister Erika, 14, was one of Eleanor’s friends at school.

Robyn said: “She was a lovely, beautiful girl. She was always round my house. I never thought this would happen to someone I know. My sister has made a collage last night with a picture of them together. They were part of a big group of friends. Everybody is devastated.”

Yesterday afternoon a large group of teenagers took chairs down to the site and sat and wept as they remembered their friend.

Families living near the scene of the crash also spoke of their sadness and paid tribute to how well the teenagers responded to the accident.

Dr Bilquis Agha, 69, lives on the road and was one of the first people at the scene.

She said: “I was in the kitchen when my granddaughter, who lives next door, came running in and said what had happened.

“There were teenagers everywhere. There was a girl on my driveway. I came out with blankets.

“People were screaming. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since it happened. I checked the girl and made sure she could breathe, and I did the same for the others.

“She was a beautiful girl. I am so shocked this has happened.”

l A 17-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving in connection with the crash and has been released on police bail until May 7, pending further inquiries.

Schools in shock

A SCHOOL community is shrouded in shock and sadness following the death of Eleanor McGrath.

The 14-year-old was a pupil at Southend High School for Girls and pupils, teachers and other staff are struggling to come to terms with the news.

Counsellors have been working in the school since pupils returned on Monday.

A short assembly was held yesterday and headteacher Alison Clewlow paid tribute to Eleanor describing her as “bright, beautiful and helpful”.

Mrs Clewlow said: “Staff, pupils and friends feel Eleanor’s loss deeply. She was a bright, lively, cheerful, beautiful and good-natured pupil.

“In her form, her hand was always first to go up with an offer of help and she was very supportive of her fellow pupils.

“Eleanor had just come back from the school ski trip where she was merry company and had a brilliant time.

“She loved to be in the limelight and contributed wholeheartedly to the life of the school.

“We will miss her. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”

Earlier the school had praised its caring pupils and said they will work hard to take care of each other.

Parents have also paid tribute to the strength shown by Eleanor’s family who even contacted them to tell them the devastating news that she had died.

Elizabeth Mower, whose daughter Lyndsey was best friends with Eleanor, said: “Her parents have been so very strong.

“They text some of us parents at 1am to tell us she had died.

“They said in their message they did not want the children to hear it the next day on the news. They are being so brave and were trying to protect the other children.”

She said she had to break the news to her daughter the next morning, adding: “The children are all absolutely devastated. I don’t know how my daughter will cope.

“They have all been staying together and seeking comfort and support together.

“Lyndsey and her friends had bought get well cards and presents to take to Eleanor in hospital. They’re still sat in my house. They’ll never be delivered.”

Dr Haroon Siddique, who lives nearby and rushed to help the victims on the night, said: “This is terrible news. We all hoped that all the children involved would have fought through this.

“The children were all remarkable on the night and will need a lot of support to get through this.”

The Echo has opened a new forum for people to pay tribute to Eleanor to offer comfort and support to her family and friends. Readers are asked to keep this for tributes only