Hartlepool teenager dies at Leeds Festival

James Houghton
James Houghton

A TEENAGER from Hartlepool has died at a music festival.

James Houghton was with a group of friends at the packed-out Leeds Festival when he collapsed and died on Sunday night.

Picture by police helicopter NPAS_CarrGate. (S)

Picture by police helicopter NPAS_CarrGate. (S)

The former Manor College of Technology pupil was among around 80,000 music lovers enjoying acts like Eminem and Jake Bugg when he fell ill at the gig, which was held at Bramham Park in Leeds.

The 19-year-old was taken to the site’s medical facility but despite the efforts of medics, police say James was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers from West Yorkshire Police are now investigating his death but say it is not being treated as suspicious at this stage.

A report has been passed to the Leeds coroner, and an inquest will be opened after a post-mortem is carried out.

25 august 2013.'Leeds Festival 2013 at Bramham Park.

25 august 2013.'Leeds Festival 2013 at Bramham Park.

It is understood James’ parents have been on holiday, and were out of the country when they were informed of their son’s death.

His mum and dad Pete and Paula Houghton – a deputy year leader at Manor College of Technology - were due back their home in the Fens area of Hartlepool today.

The popular student, who worked part-time at Marks and Spencer in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and was due to start university, also has a sister, Jenny.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: “West Yorkshire Police is investigating the circumstances surrounding the unexplained death of a 19-year-old man at the Leeds Festival.

“Police officers working at the festival were called to the on-site medical facilities at 11.22pm on Sunday, August 25, following his collapse elsewhere on site.

“He was pronounced dead at the festival site. Police are not treating the death as suspicious at this time.

He added: “Members of his family have been notified of his death.”

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “We were contacted by West Yorkshire Police to assist with informing the family of the death of the young man.”

Today, Anne Malcolm, headteacher at Manor College, paid tribute to James and described him as “popular” and “well-respected”.

She said: “James was a popular and extremely intelligent young man; he left Manor College in 2010 as one of our highest performing pupils.

“James was a musician who had a love of music and performance which he followed in and out of school.

“James was not only popular with his peers who appreciated his wit, generosity and friendship, he was also respected and well liked by his teachers who enjoyed his intelligence, enthusiasm and commitment to his studies.”

She added: “We are in a state of shock and disbelief at this tragic news. The whole of the Manor Family extends our love and support to James’ mum Paula, his dad Pete and sister Jenny.

“James was a bright light who will be greatly missed.”

Dawn McManus, founder of Red Dreams – a performance nurturing charity which James was involved with – said: “James always brought a smile to our faces, he was considerate and thoughtful.

“Our hearts go out to Paula and her family.

“There are no words we can offer, a moment like this is unthinkable for a parent.

“Red Dreams is a family and James will be forever part of that.”

Stuart Lamb, store manager of Marks and Spencer, in Hartlepool, said: “We are deeply sorry to hear the news and our thoughts are with his friends and family at this difficult time.

“James worked with us for around a year and only recently left as he was planning to study at Manchester University. He was a very well respected and popular member of the team.”