Bittersweet 16th birthday party to remember teen Lauren Drew
A BITTERSWEET 16th birthday party was held on Sunday to mark what would have been Lauren Drew's milestone year.
The Gloucester teenager is in the thoughts of mum Carole Gelder every day since dying suddenly on January 10, 2011 from a suspected epileptic fit.
Youngest daughter Beth Gelder, who turns 10 tomorrow, asked her mum if she could share her party with her big sister.
Carole said: "It was hard day but we kept out spirits up for Beth.
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"I went in the morning to see Lauren and at the party everyone was talking about their memories of her."
More than 70 family and friends of both girls gathered for the poignant occasion at Top Cue Snooker Club in Gloucester.
Dad Mark Drew was there, as were Lauren's friends from Barnwood Park Arts College. There was a birthday cake and traditional singing for both sisters and guests were asked to bring red roses for Lauren which have been placed at her graveside.
Carole said: "I think it's a cruel world sometimes as 16 is such a milestone and she would have just been starting out in life.
"I see her friends growing up but she will always be 14 to us and we will never actually see her turn 16."
Lauren was found dead in her bedroom at her home in Naunton Road in Coney Hill.
An inquest into the Barnwood Park Arts College student's death ruled she died from natural causes.
Carole visits her daughter's resting place every week and wears a necklace every day with her picture and a lock of her hair in it.
But she is still unable to go into Lauren's bedroom, which Beth and eldest daughter Kayliegh Mann, 26, now share.
Carole said: "Her things are all still in there.
"I can't go in as I just remember that morning I walked in and found her."
She thanked everyone who came to the party and said it was nice to share memories of Lauren.
She also takes comfort from seeing Beth growing up and said: "She will turn 16 one day and overtake Lauren which is quite strange."