Tributes to 'ray of sunshine' from Sheffield who took her own life

Lauren Whitby with her beloved dog
Lauren Whitby with her beloved dog
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Tributes have been paid to a 'party-loving' 'ray of sunshine' from Sheffield who took her own life.

Lauren Whitney, from Longley, died aged just 24 after taking an overdose, an inquest heard today.

Sheffield Coroner's Court heard how the NHS support worker was found by her mother unresponsive in her bed on the morning of Sunday, April 2.

She was rushed to Northern General Hospital with severe brain injuries, and she died there a fortnight later, on April 17.

Friends and family rallied together following her death to raise more than £800 to give her what they called 'the send off she deserves'.

Christina Distefano, who launched the JustGiving appeal, wrote: "Lauren was an amazing person who touched everyone that knew her. She was a ray of sunshine that brightened up the room...

"Lauren loved a party. Let's give her one last party that we can all be a part of and celebrate her life."

Nearly 50 people donated to the cause, with one former work colleague writing: "I remember her bubbly and vivacious spirit and energy. She was always keen to help, always laughing and smiling."

The inquest heard how Lauren had a history of epilepsy and also suffered from anxiety, for which she had been prescribed anti-depressants.

Her mother Helen Chambers said Lauren had applied for a job on the Thursday and seemed 'fine' that day but broke up with her boyfriend the following day and spent much of Saturday sleeping.

She said she checked on her daughter repeatedly that day and dialled 999 when she woke the following morning to find Lauren unresponsive.

Lauren's ex-partner Matthew Croft said she had talked about suicide on the Friday and told him she had swallowed a mouthful of liquid painkiller, but he did not believe she was serious about taking her own life.

Assistant coroner David Urpeth recorded a conclusion of suicide, but said it was not clear when Lauren had taken the fatal overdose.

Speaking after the inquest, Lauren's family praised the palliative care team at Northern General Hospital for 'making her last few days peaceful'.

They also thanked family and friends for their support, and said Lauren was sorely missed.