Headteacher “devastated” after five-year-old Lower Clapton pupil drowns

The “devastated” headteacher of tragic Lara Lewis has paid tribute to the five-year-old this afternoon after learning she drowned in Portugal yesterday.

Lara attended Rushmore Primary School in Elderfield Road, which is near where she lived with her family in Glenarm Road, Lower Clapton.

Headteacher Ian Mullaney said: “We are devastated to hear the news about Lara.

“She was a delightful young girl from a lovely family and this has come as a huge shock to the whole Rushmore community.

“Lara was a bright, friendly and positive girl who was well liked by her teachers and classmates.

“It is a tragedy and the news is just sinking in for all of us.”

Lara and her grandfather, Brian O’Dwyer, both drowned after they were swept out to sea when waves knocked them over as they walked along Salgada beach in Nazare. They had left Lara’s parents, Philip and Sian Lewis, sunbathing, and had apparently strayed to a section of beach that was not patrolled by lifeguards.

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Grandmother Jill O’Dwyer was also carried away by the choppy waters, but survived and is now recovering in hospital.

Fisherman managed to reach the struggling family and took all three to shore on their boat, but emergency crews were unable to revive Lara or her grandad.

Foreign Office officials are now liaising with Portuguese authorities following the incident.