Heartbroken boyfriend of tragic Sheffield student warns against drug use

Joana Burns and Lewis Birch
Joana Burns and Lewis Birch

The heartbroken boyfriend of a popular Sheffield student who died after taking drugs on a night out is urging others to stop, claiming the death had ripped his life apart.

Lewis Birch, posting on Facebook, described 22-year-old Joana Burns as 'the most beautiful amazing girlfriend in the world'.

In a heart-wrenching post, he wrote: "I will always love you and you will be in my heart forever. I will never forget you and would give absolutely everything to have you back in my life. "

Urging others not to take drugs, Lewis added: "If anyone is ever thinking of taking any sort of drug - don't full stop.

"It has torn my life apart. I am absolutely crushed right now."

At Joana's funeral at City Road Crematorium in Sheffield, mourners were asked to make donations in her memory instead of buying flowers.

Lewis said the money will be used 'to help raise drugs awareness amongst Sheffield students'.

Over £1,200 has been donated via an online 'Just Giving' page to fund the drug awareness education at Sheffield Hallam University.

The founder of the Just Giving page posted: "Joana's Mum, Mosca, tells us Joana was named after Joan of Arc, because of her strength and conviction - qualities which Joana also displayed.

"This strength and conviction had recently seen her complete a mathematics degree at Sheffield Hallam University, a subject she loved, and a place where she also met her boyfriend, Lewis.

"Joana was a wonderful young woman with so much to look forward to. She will be missed not only by her family and friends but by everyone who knew her."

A Sheffield Hallam University spokesman said: "We are extremely saddened by the death of one of our students following a night out in the city and we would like to offer our deepest condolences to the student's family and friends following this tragic news.

"Joana Burns was a very popular student with a bright future ahead of her. We are offering support to Joana's family, our students and staff.


"We are aware that another Sheffield Hallam student remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition and our thoughts are with them and their family at this difficult time.


"South Yorkshire Police are investigating the matter and we are working with them to support their investigations."


"Sheffield Hallam University does not condone alcohol and substance misuse in any shape or form. The welfare of our students is our top priority and we have a dedicated team of highly trained staff who are available to offer guidance and support to those who need it, whatever the issue.


"We also work very closely with our Students' Union to deliver regular wellbeing campaigns to ensure our students have access to the right information to keep themselves safe.”

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