A community in mourning held an emotional balloon release for 10-year-old Darlington mudslide victim Leah Harrison.

Leah was tragically killed in a mudslide on Wednesday (May 22) on the second day of a school residential at the Carlton Adventure activity centre on the edge of the North York Moors.

The Year 6 pupil at Mount Pleasant Primary School in Darlington had recently completed her SATs and was a budding footballer.

The Northern Echo: Leah Harrison.Leah Harrison. (Image: North Yorkshire Police)

Hundreds of families including Leah’s schoolfriends gathered at the playpark near Cocker Beck in Darlington at 4pm on Monday (May 27) to release balloons.

Colourful balloons floated away in the skies over Darlington in the emotional tribute.

The Northern Echo: Balloons were released over Darlington on Monday (May 27) for 10-year-old Darlington mudslide

The Northern Echo: Colourful balloons rise over Darlington.Colourful balloons rise over Darlington. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

Among them were balloons reading ‘10’, a reference to Leah’s age, and footballs for the wannabe England Lioness.

There were tears and cheers as they were released following a short countdown.

The Northern Echo: Balloons of the number '10', Leah's age, and footballs were among those released by mourners.Balloons of the number '10', Leah's age, and footballs were among those released by mourners. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

Leah’s family were in attendance at the vigil to mark her short life.

Paying tribute to her in a statement last week they said: “Leah Harrison, the happy, bubbly, go-lucky little girl.

“The beautiful smile, the giddy laugh, the silly jokes. You will never ever be forgotten baby girl.

“You will achieve your dream and become a player for the Lionesses.

“Spread those wings. May you rest in paradise.”

The Northern Echo:

Floral tributes had been left outside the school earlier this week along with teddy bears and footballs.

Her school previously confirmed Leah was taking part in a “standard” outdoor adventure trip with her peers and the mudslide took place just after 1pm on a “popular walking route,” said to be used by school groups visiting the site.

Stacey Britton’s daughter Ava was on the trip when the accident happened and wanted to release a balloon to pay her own respects to Leah.

Stacey told the Echo: “My daughter Ava was in the same class as Leah, she was close friends with her. Her cousin lives in our street and Leah was always there with her cousin playing out all the time.

The Northern Echo: Stacey Britton (right) and daughter Ava, who was in Leah's class at school and used to play out with the 10-year-old.Stacey Britton (right) and daughter Ava, who was in Leah's class at school and used to play out with the 10-year-old. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

“Ava was on the trip too. I was worried at first, all we got told by the school was to come pick them (our children) up at 6.45pm and that your child was safe but there had been an incident.

“We found out what happened when we all went to the school to pick up their kids.

“We wanted to give Leah a nice send off. My daughter wanted to come down and pay her respects.

“She’s finding it really hard over the last couple of days. She’s had sleepless nights. We’re trying to help her pick herself up. It’s really difficult trying to get her through it.”

Ava’s uncle Robert added: “Everyone is so shocked by what happened.”

“It’s tragic. I’ve got kids myself, my youngest is nine. I don’t think I’d be able to cope with what has happened. It’s unbearable. I hope the family get through it and we’ll all support them in our own way.”

Recommended reading:

Get more from The Northern Echo with a digital subscription. Get access for 3 months for just £3, or get 30% off an annual subscription with our latest offer. Click here.

Almost thirty members of mountain rescue teams spent hours trying to save the ten-year-old.

The area was cordoned off throughout the afternoon and members of the public were asked to avoid the area.

North Yorkshire Police said Leah’s family were being supported by specially trained officers and the force asked for them to be given space to grieve.