Touching tributes have poured in following the sudden loss of a “lovely” young singer and rugby supporter.

Tuqiri Blackwell, of Mirehouse, Whitehaven, tragically passed away last Monday aged 18.

She was a talented performer - joining Stage Stars performance school at the age of seven, and later Sing Stars singing school, where she was still having singing lessons and teaching younger students.

Tuqiri had also grown up supporting Whitehaven Rugby League Club and has been described as a thread in the family of the club.

Beth Clark, who runs Sing Stars singing school, said: “She was bubbly, talented - she could dance, sing and act. She had an infectious laugh and giggle and a lovely, big smile.

“She was quite innocent. She loved Disney and Tinkerbell. A lot of people couldn’t pronounce her name so we’d call her Tink for short.

“She loved the Vamps - she used to go to all their concerts.

“She was just a lovely girl. Friendly and lovely.

“I’ve known her since she was six years old. Not only as a student but as a family friend as well. She first joined my sister’s dance school, Stage Stars, and was one of the first to come on the day she opened. From there she joined on to the singing lessons.

“She had a beautiful singing voice. Very powerful. She always chose powerful ballads to sing which she was brilliant at.”

Tuqiri also worked at Zest Harbourside restaurant while she was a student at Lakes College and was hoping to go to university to study nursing.

She had recently passed her driving theory test and got her first car, ready for passing her driving test.

Beth added: “We are all heartbroken. A lot of the parents have been saying they will miss her lovely smile and singing voice. We’re all just absolutely shocked and heartbroken. She’s gone too soon.

“The only comfort we can get is we know she loved Tinkerbell and Peter Pan, she was never meant to grow up. That’s what we keep telling ourselves. It’s a little bit of comfort.”

Chris Nattress, Lakes College Principal, said: “We are all deeply saddened following the news of Tuqiri’s death. Tuqiri joined the college in September 2019 on the Level Two Public Services course, progressing on to the Level Three Uniformed Services course from September 2020 and was due to complete Year One of the course in July.

“In the two years Tuqiri was at Lakes College, she had a huge, positive impact on both her tutors and her friends.

“Tuqiri was a lively, friendly and intelligent person. She gave 100 per cent commitment to anything she took on, and was passionate about the things she cared about. She brought a sense of fun and enjoyment to everything put in front of her, and could make the entire room laugh with a single sentence.

“She was a natural performer and brought a positive energy wherever she went. When people were struggling, she was the first to offer her support, with a smile on her face and a witty comment to help get everyone through it!

“She was achieving excellent grades in her college work, and had a bright and promising future ahead of her. She was a much loved and important member of our college community, and will be hugely missed by everyone who had the fortune to get to know her.”

Tommy Todd, chairman of Whitehaven Rugby League Club, said: “She was a lovely young lass. Very dedicated to Whitehaven Rugby League Club.

“She was very close to her grandparents, Dennis and Susan Mckeown, who are two of our staunchest fans. They never miss a match.

“They brought her into the tradition of following Whitehaven Rugby League Club.

“She’s a lovely singer. A beautiful singing voice.

“Everybody at the club is just devastated. Everybody knew Tuqiri.

“She had been coming to the matches since she was a baby in arms.

“Everybody is in shock. She’ll be sadly missed.

"She was one of the threads in the family of Whitehaven Rugby League Club.”