Family pay tribute to “happy girl who would help anyone” who died at the Blue Lagoon

The family of a woman who died at the Blue Lagoon have paid tribute to “a happy girl who would help anyone”.

Emily Johnson died after she became submerged in the water on July 30 while she was out with friends.

Although the 20-year-old was pulled from the lagoon and airlifted to hospital she died two days later at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

The cause of death was given as brain injuries due to drowning.

Following the inquest at Milton Keynes Coroners Court on Friday, her family told the Citizen: “Emily was just out of her teens and was finding her own way.

“She loved her job, and I think she had just found her niche. She was a people person, she was really chatty, and she loved life to the full.”

The inquest heard that Emily had been at the Blue Lagoon throughout the day with friends, including her boyfriend Daniel Ashmore.

Emily, a former Stantonbury Campus student who lived in Crosslands, was last seen in the water with a young child from their group. When her boyfriend realised he could not see her in the water he called for her; when he and a friend had realised she was under the water they tried to rescue her and called for help. Despite other people helping to retrieve Emily from the water and calling the emergency services they were unable to resuscitate her.

Mr Ashmore, who was described as a “credible witness” by assistant coroner Elizabeth Gray, described the moment when he went to find Emily.

He said: “Emily was a good swimmer, she used to swim for the school when she was younger.

“I am a good enough swimmer - you do what you have got to do, I didn’t think about it at the time.”

The court heard that the Blue Lagoon is a popular spot for revellers in the summer, with people swimming and having barbecues. Around 100 people are thought to have been at the site on the day of the accident.

Although there are signs warning people not to swim and about the dangers of going into the water, the council has no power to prevent people from doing so.

Following the inquest, Emily’s uncle Sean Johnson thanked her friends for the generosity, after they donated £380 to the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance who had transported her to hospital. Anyone else who wants to make a donation can do so at

He said: “It does make us feel better than Emily was an organ donor - she became one when she was 16 and was ahead of her time in that respect. He organs have helped to improve the lives of six other people.

“I’d like to thank the emergency services who were at the scene, the ambulance crew, and all the staff at John Radcliffe who didn’t leave Emily alone for a moment, even after she had died. I’d like to thank PCSO Michael Billingham who did an excellent job in a situation that would have tested a much more experienced policeman, and I’d like to thank the five kids who absolutely shone by helping to rescue Emily from the water.

“I hope that this encourages other people to sign up to become organ donors, and I hope that it makes people realise the dangers of swimming in places like the Blue Lagoon. Older people have to take responsibility for their actions, and if you take people to a site that isn’t designed for swimming, and ignore signs that say ‘No Swimming’ then this is what can happen.”