A FRIEND of tragic Leeds Festival girl Anya Buckley has described the former Saddleworth School pupil as “a lovely girl”.
Archie Burke only discovered his fellow 17-year-old’s death from a suspected drugs overdose after arriving to attend the event himself at Bramham Park.
The promising musician from Diggle has since helped raise £2,600 for Anya’s family at an emotional gig at The Gate Inn, Diggle.
Anya passed away shortly after 3.40am on Saturday, August 24.
“I only found out about Anya when I was getting my ticket at the box office,” Archie told the Independent.
“Instead of going home I just wanted to be around close friends and familiar people instead of being on my own.
“I stayed for a while but didn’t even watch any acts over the weekend.
“It was tough for me to do to the gig at The Gate. But I had a lot of support and stayed strong though I burst into tears after the set.
“It showed just how much Anya was loved. The pub was packed and the atmosphere was special. I am buzzing we raised so much money.”
Archie explained he had only known Anya a short while but they had become good friends.
“I used to live in Manchester and only moved into Saddleworth at the start of 2017,” he said.
“But I got on with Anya as soon as I met her. She was such a lovely girl.
“We were in a few classes together and just got a really good friendship together. She came to my gigs, she was lovely.”
Archie will consider future fundraisers for his fellow teenager but added: “I don’t want to do anything off my own back.
“I always check with Anya’s parents, I asked them about the gig and even though they weren’t there they appreciated what I was doing.”
The Gate landlady Evelyn Peach said: “Archie plays a regular set at the pub and asked us if he could play as a tribute to Anya.
“He was a bit emotional at first which was understandable. The evening started off quietly as a lot of people perhaps felt it didn’t seem quite right.
“But I think people close to Anya appreciated the support they had received. There must have been 200-300 people in the pub.
“One of them stood up and made a very poignant speech urging youngsters not to get swept along by others, to be strong and be their own person.
“Drugs cost lives and this tragic incident should be a warning to others.”
In a statement Leeds Festival’s Police Commander Superintendent Matt Davison said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the girl who has died.
“We have family liaison officers in place supporting them and they have asked that their privacy is respected at this extremely difficult time.
“While the exact cause of her death is yet to be established, the information we have indicates that she has taken a combination of drugs.
“This is a tragic incident and I hope serves as a timely reminder to others of the risk of taking illegal substances, particularly when mixing different types of drugs and drinking alcohol.
“If anyone has any concerns for either themselves or others at the festival, I would urge them to contact staff on-site or seek urgent medical assistance.”
A 17-year-old male from Oldham arrested on suspicion of supplying controlled drugs has been released under investigation.
Saddleworth School was in the process of issuing a statement and preparing a tribute as the Independent went to press.