Former schoolmates of a 20-year-old student who died in an incident involving a barrier outside a busy nightclub have spoken of the loss of a “wonderful girl”.
Olivia Burt, in her first year at Durham University, suffered a serious head injury near to the entrance of Missoula just before midnight on Wednesday as people queued to get in to the popular venue.
First-aiders tried to save her life and attempted CPR, but she died at the scene in Durham city centre.
A post-mortem examination confirmed Miss Burt died as a result of head injuries.
Miss Burt, from Hampshire, was a former head girl at Bournemouth School for Girls (BSG) and was an accomplished sailor, having been part of the British Sailing team in the European Championships.
Former schoolmate Megan Stone said: “She was the most genuine and loveliest person with a heart of gold.”
She also posted on Facebook: “Another fellow bsg’ian gone too soon, speechless. What a lovely girl that will always be remembered. Sending love to all her friends and family.”
Eddie Cuttelle said: “I wasn’t particularly close to Olivia, but she was part of the BSG sixth form family and I’m sure every one of us are very upset to have lost such a wonderful girl.”
She also posted on Facebook: “Heartbroken that we lost our brilliant and clever head girl. Olivia was so kind to me when I arrived at BSG not knowing anyone from the area … RIP”
Lymington Town Sailing Club posted: “We are devastated to hear news of the death of Olivia Burt. A talented young Laser sailor who was always smiling around the club. Our thoughts are with her family at this terrible time.”
The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) paid tribute to the sailor.
Chris Atherton, its senior high performance manager, said: “The RYA is deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident.
“As a popular and committed Junior Optimist squad sailor, Olivia Burt exhibited all the drive, determination and good sportsmanship required to progress as a successful Laser competitor.
“Olivia’s passion for sailing always shone through and all those who knew her in the sailing community will miss her tremendously; she was both a likeable and fair competitor.
“Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Olivia at this sad time.”
Professor David Held, Master of University College, Durham, said Miss Burt was reading natural sciences and added: “She came to Durham with glowing references from her school, where she was regarded in the highest possible terms.”
Durham Police said they have launched a joint investigation with Durham County Council into the incident.
According to The Tab student newspaper, the bar was packed and there was a long queue waiting to get in.
In a statement, Missoula, which was hosting its Game Over student night, said it was “a terrible accident” and that it was working with the police and security company which provides door staff.