Family of girl, 12, who drowned on school trip ‘forced to move country’

Six years after Jess Lawson died during a school trip to France, her parents Tony and Brenda Lawson are still in mourning – for Jess and for their old lives.

The 12-year-old Hull schoolgirl Jess drowned in July 2015 after hitting her head on an upturned floating pontoon where 20 kids were stood. The foam platform was designed for half as many.

Mum Brenda set up the Jessica Lawson Foundation to support bereaved parents.

She wrote on the foundation's Facebook page on Monday: "Today was the day 6 years ago when Jess got on the coach at Wolfreton School and we waved her goodbye.

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"She messaged me constantly throughout the journey. Letting me know where the coach had stopped and what she'd had to eat. The films she'd watched on the coach and the delay boarding the ferry.

"Her message to me as she arrived in France and how bad the French breakfast from the service station was!!!"

The last Brenda and Tony heard from Jess was that she'd arrived safely and that "the fun begins tomorrow".

Only 48 hours later, Jess fell into the lake and never regained consciousness.

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Brenda added: "Why? Why? Why? We've asked that question over and over."

Jess was airlifted to a nearby hospital in Limoges, central France, but died the next morning.

Sister Polly announced the news to her friends on social media.

She wrote: "Remember who she was not who she could have been, it is important we respect and cherish the memories we had with her."

Jess's other sister Hannah added: "Jess was the most beautiful and outgoing girl and I am proud to be her sister.

"I will live my life to the full just like she would have done. I love you angel. Forever."

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Yet the school didn't offer an apology or an explanation, Tony claims.

Now, 3 of the teachers who were supposed to be responsible for Jess's wellbeing face an appearance at a French court.

But that's barely consolation to Jess's parents, who said the past 6 years have been hellish.

Tony's business was ignored by locals who felt he was better off left alone, while the mortgage became increasingly difficult to pay.

The family now live month-to-month in Portugal.

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He told The Sun: "We were ignored, isolated. Ostracised. I could clear aisles in Morrisons.

"Just about everything we do is for Jess, we hope that she's aware of where we are in the world and what we are doing in her name."

"I'm looking forward to finding answers, and then for me, that will be over. It won't retrieve Jess though. Her fate was sealed that day.

"Our lives are no longer recognisable, we've lost everything. We just want some form of apology or acknowledgement."

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A spokesperson for East Riding Council told Hull Live: "It is with regret that almost six years after Jessica's death, we are still unable to make a comment due to the on-going judicial process in France.

"However, our thoughts at this time are with Jessica's family and all of those affected by this tragic event."

Wolfreton School was contacted for a comment.

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