THE heartbroken family of a caring Port Seton teenager have been left “devastated” after she died suddenly from meningitis.

Hundreds of tributes have been paid on social media to Eilidh Buckley following her passing last Tuesday.

The former Preston Lodge High School pupil was due to celebrate her 18th birthday next Thursday.

Eilidh took ill on Saturday, July 25 and was unable to go to work that day.

She had previously been healthy and her usual self.

Her parents took her to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh the following morning where she was later put into an induced coma.

She died in the hospital two days later. Her funeral service takes places on Tuesday.

Mum Carrieann described Eilidh, who was due to start university next month to fulfill her dream of being a school teacher, as a “popular and well-loved girl”.

She told the Courier: “She was sociable and had a lot of friends and she loved going out with them. Her friends were extremely important to her.

“She was in a big group of friends but Emily was her best friend; Emily’s heartbroken.

“Eilidh was really focused and hard-working. She just passed her driving test one and a half weeks before lockdown and loved going out for drives.

“She had lots to look forward to. We are devastated.”

East Lothian Courier:

The teenager lived with her mum and dad Raymond, who both work for the Scottish Government, and 15-year-old brother Ross, a fourth year pupil at Preston Lodge, and 10-year-old sister Isla, a P7 pupil at Cockenzie Primary School.

She finished S6 at Preston Lodge earlier this year and was to attend the University of Stirling next month after receiving an unconditional offer to study primary school teaching.

Eilidh received unconditional offers from all of the universities she applied to and during her Higher exams in fifth year achieved five As and one B.

The kind-hearted teenager was also active in the community.

She volunteered from the age of 14 at the Brownies group in Cockenzie every Tuesday.

Eilidh was also a member of local dance group At Dance and volunteered to help its hip hop class every Thursday.

She also volunteered at Cockenzie Primary School on Thursdays as part of her Preston Lodge High School timetable and helped two of its primary three classes, which inspired her love for teaching.

The much-loved teenager was due to celebrate her milestone birthday on August 13 with a birthday party in the garden planned by her parents and a surprise party was to take place at The Filling Station sandwich shop in Prestonpans, where she worked.

Carrieann said the family still planned to celebrate Eilidh’s birthday but had not yet decided how to do so.

Because of current Covid-19 restrictions, Eilidh’s funeral service, at Mortonhall Crematorium on Tuesday, is a private gathering.

Carolyn Gibson, owner of The Filling Station, closed her Prestonpans and Longniddry shops last Thursday (July 30) as a mark of respect to her employee and to allow staff to process what she described as a “huge loss”.

Carolyn said in a statement on social media: “It is with great sadness that we lost an incredible young member of our team; Eilidh Buckley.

“Eilidh was a genuinely kind, caring, intelligent young lady, who worked extremely hard at everything she did, both at work and in life.

“We will miss so many things about Eilidh: her laughter, her energy, her incredible work ethic and most of all her ability to put a smile on all our faces.

“Eilidh was loved by the whole team and will be missed by us all.”

Carolyn went on to describe Eilidh as a “very precious beautiful girl”.

Carolyn told the Courier: “She was an incredible girl and we will miss her so much.

“The girls are so upset. I get a few young ones in here and we’re all very close and like a second family.

“I was speaking to her mum and she said we were her second family.

“We would sit and have a chat about things. I’m very close to all my staff. I really just can’t believe it. It’s just so sad.”

Carrieann said that Eilidh thought very highly of her colleagues at The Filling Station.

Carolyn added: “The young ones, when someone young dies, it affects them so badly.

“We think at that age nothing can touch her. . . life is so precious. It’s so weird walking into the shop and she’s not there.”

When describing Eilidh, Carolyn said: “She was our filly girl.

“She was very focused, incredibly focused. Even at school she studied really hard. She wanted to be the best, always wanted to be at the top.

“She was quite a quiet, diligent girl.”

Carolyn’s post on The Filling Station’s Facebook page has been shared more than 620 times.

Among the more than 270 comments was one from friend Jaime Sutherland, from Port Seton, who said: “She was just the best friend I could have ever asked for. She will be missed so much.”

Another friend Chloe Allen said: “So beautiful inside and out and so thankful to say she was one of my best friends. Will forever be in my heart. Love you forever gorgeous girl.”

Val McCran said: “I don’t know this young girl but my thoughts and condolences go to her family and friends. So sad the loss of a young life.”

Jenny Gibson said: “She was a kind and beautiful young girl, who will be missed.

“I hope you all will have time to reflect on all the happy memories with her. Sending all my love to you all and her family.”

Kirsty Anderson added: “This is so sad to hear, she was always so lovely in the shop. Thinking of you all and sending lots of love.”

Kirsten Herriot said: “So sorry for this heartbreaking news, Eilidh was always smiling and polite and such a beautiful girl.”

Robyn Murdoch said: “So so heartbreaking, Eilidh you were the most amazing, kindhearted girl. Sleep tight angel, Thinking of you all.”

Wendy Goodall described Eilidh as “a fabulous young girl to be extremely proud of”.

Gavin Clark, headteacher at Preston Lodge High School, also paid tribute to Eilidh.

He said: “Eilidh was a really lovely young woman, and everyone at Preston Lodge was devastated by the news of her very untimely passing.

“She was funny, warm, caring, intelligent and likeable.

“Eilidh was able to use those attributes well and she made Preston Lodge a better place in her role as depute head girl.

“I knew Eilidh well, having taught her for the last two years, and I always enjoyed having her in class. She was sparky, hard-working and always interested.

“She was able to use her abilities to find often interesting and clever solutions to complex academic challenges, but she also spent a lot of time supporting and encouraging other students.

“Eilidh was an incredible role model to our younger students, and was constantly making their school experience a positive one.

“Eilidh had a massive amount to offer the wider world she was about to step into, and it is very sad that that opportunity will now be denied.

“We are all thinking about Eilidh’s family at this dreadful time, and our hearts go out to them.

“Eilidh was, and always will be, a great PLer.”

A fund has been set up to allow members of the public to make a donation towards a memorial bench for Eilidh.

It was created by local resident John Marshall, senior community development officer at the Port Seton Centre.

John said: “The Buckley family have been overwhelmed with offers of help from the community at this incredibly sad time following the loss of their darling Eilidh.

“Many people have asked if they can make a financial contribution towards a permanent memorial for Eilidh.

“An account has therefore been set up to enable donations to be made to the family. Every penny raised will be for Eilidh’s memorial bench.

“Eilidh was such a caring person who had a bright and beautiful future ahead – it is hoped that something positive can come from this fund to reflect Eilidh’s personality.”

He added: “The idea [for the memorial fund for the bench] was put together by various people in the community that decided to raise money so the family could use it in whatever way they chose and after speaking to them they decided to use it for a memorial bench.”

Those who wish to donate are asked to send their contribution to account number 00719970 and sort code 83-26-20.

Alternatively, cash donations can be made directly to John; these can be put in a sealed envelope marked ‘Eilidh’s Fund’ and hand it to the Port Seton Centre.

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (meninges).

It can affect anyone, but is most common in babies, young children, teenagers and young adults.

It can cause life-threatening blood poisoning (septicaemia) and result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves.

Symptoms can include a high temperature/fever; being sick; a headache; a rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it; a stiff neck; and a dislike of bright lights. Meningitis is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection.

For more information, see the website of charity the Meningitis Research Foundation