Tributes have been paid to two “beautiful” teenage best friends who were killed in a horror car crash while enjoying a “summer of fun” ahead of their first year at university.
Jennifer Woodhouse, 18, and Lara Meldrum, 19, had been on a day trip to the beach on the hottest day of the year when they were involved in the smash on their way home.
The fatal collision between a black Peugeot and a black Volvo took place on the A158 in Hagworthingham, Lincolnshire, just before 7pm on 17 June.
Lincolnshire Police said the two friends were treated for their injuries but nothing could be done to save them despite the efforts of medics.
Pair were ‘friends to the end’
Heartbroken family have now released emotional tributes to Lara, of Arnold, Nottinghamshire, and Jennifer, of Alfreton, Derbyshire, who were “friends to the end”.
The pair had been due to start studying together at Sheffield Hallam University in September.
Lara, a “caring” and “fun-loving girl”, was revealed to be a talented ice hockey player and played in the National League for Nottingham Ice Hockey Club.
Pizza Express chef Jennifer was described as a “mental health hero” volunteer who was “beautifully kind-hearted” and “made the world a better place.”
‘She was our beautiful little star’
In a statement issued via police Jennifer’s family said she was a “force of nature” who had the “whole world ahead of her”.
They said: “She was our beautiful, little star. We are all privileged to have had her in our lives. She was absolutely hilariously funny with an intelligent sense of humour that never failed.
“She would be rolling around on the floor with her friends laughing at the silliest thing.
“She had a deeply rooted sense of morals and principles and lived by what she believed.
“She just loved people and above all she believed in and championed all of her family, sticking by them through everything, helping us all when we were wounded, caring when we were sick, advising us through our turmoil and always making us laugh and smile.”
The family said Jennifer had the “most beautiful bond” with her brother and spent time with her extended family whenever she could.
They went on to say: “She was a whirlwind of energy and would go from baking cakes, to dancing, to painting, to playing with her dog, Kevin.
“She lived life to the fullest and looked to the future, always planning, and saving for her travels or for her car, or for whatever she wanted.
“She was insistently independent, refusing help to buy a car because she could make it on her own.
“She could have been anything she wanted to be, she was so clever, so hard-working and so skilled.
“Jen loved working and earning her own money, she always did more hours than we asked her to do and her work colleagues became lifelong friends.
“Even before paid work, Jen volunteered at Barnardos where she worked every week making friends with old and young and having loads of fun.
“Jen was a mental health hero and looked out for all of her friends.
“She knew when things weren’t right and would run down the stairs saying, ‘we’ve got to go’ and was a brilliant support to many in really dark times, staying with friends when older people would have struggled to cope.
“In recent years she did amazingly in her GCSE’s and went to college to study her A Levels.
“She met some of her best friends and loved going on adventures especially with Lara, and their holiday to Blackpool was hilarious.
“Jen was a student you loved to teach, she was a bright light always laughing and keeping the teachers on their toes. She was a whizz at maths.
“She was incredible studying, working and partying and has a place at Uni in September to study maths and still always made time for family and friends.
“The world is a better place for having had her in it and she will be missed terribly.
“She was an incredible human who blessed all that got to know her kindness, her intelligent empathy, her charm, her humour, and her complete radiance which made us all be better people.
“If you know Jennifer, you love her.”
‘We will miss her so much’
McDonald’s worker Lara’s family also paid tribute and said she was always the “centre of the fun” and had “a great sense of adventure”.
They said: “Friends to the end.
“Having finished their A Level exams, Lara and Jennifer had a summer of fun ahead before they headed off together to study at Sheffield Hallam University in September.
“A day trip to the seaside ended so tragically.
“Lara was a fun loving girl whose kind and caring nature touched so many of her friends all over the country.
“Born in Chesterfield she lived most of her life in Coxley, Somerset and Arnold, Nottingham.
“Her friendships remained close and in some cases stronger despite the distances.
“We have never known anyone with so many “best friends”, something that so many proudly called her.
“She worked hard so that she could save money to pay for holidays with her friends, nights out and for her new found love of clothes.
“Every colour of Crocs that you could buy and a hoodie to match them.
Lara’s devastated family went on to describe the void her loss will leave in their lives, saying: “We will miss her jumping on our bed every night to chat before we slept. We will miss her taking days to bring her washing and dishes down.
“We will miss her stealing our phones and taking random pictures without us knowing.
“We will miss her charming ability to get a lift to college despite having just been given money for the bus.
“We will miss her fake tan that made her look like a tiger loaf on day three. We will miss her so much.”
Plea for witnesses to come forward
Police say they would still like to hear from anyone who witnessed the crash or may have dashcam footage to get in touch.
A force spokesperson said previously: “We are now appealing for anyone who saw the collision or has dash cam footage to come forward.
“If you witnessed the incident or know anything that might help us in our investigations, please get in touch.”
Anyone who can help is asked to call 101 or email [email protected] quoting incident 402 of June 17.