A TALENTED student who died in her sleep just days before an interview for her dream job has been described as “a one-off” by her mum.

Former Preston Lodge High School pupil Ellie Morris died suddenly on December 5 from an epileptic seizure.

The 21-year-old was diagnosed with the condition, which affects about 600,000 people across the UK, when she was 13.

Her mum, Alyson Birss, has launched an online fundraising page in Ellie’s memory to raise money for Epilepsy Scotland and to increase awareness of the charity, which offers a free confidential helpline.

Alyson said: “Ellie was just lovely. She was really pretty, a beautiful girl, clever and just good fun.

“She was a really good friend to people and a brilliant big sister.

“She was just an amazing girl and a one-off. Her boyfriend said she made everything exciting and she really did.

“She was just one of those up-for-anything, just go-for-it, people.”

East Lothian Courier: Ellie Morris

Ellie, who had lived on Longniddry’s Dean Court with her mum and dad Mark Morris, and younger sister Freya, who is in S6 at Preston Lodge, was studying accountancy at the University of Dundee and was due to graduate this summer.

She had been studying with her flatmate in the city into the early hours of the morning, with exams and an interview with international company Deloitte coming up.

Her mum, who described her daughter as an animal lover who loved her Border collie Bella, had tried to message her during the day and thought it was strange she had not heard from her as it was the family dog’s birthday.

Later that night, the family received a knock on the door from the police to tell them the tragic news.

Alyson said: “Deloitte was her dream job.

“She wanted to move to Edinburgh and work for one of the big four accountancy companies, in particular Deloitte.

“She had to do various rounds of online stuff to get an interview and she was so excited because she had an interview on December 10.”

The family set up a JustGiving page with a view to raising £1,000 for Epilepsy Scotland but that target has been well and truly smashed.

More than £9,000 has been collected and Alyson told the Courier it was important to try to raise awareness of both the condition and the charity.

She thanked those who had made a donation in memory of Ellie, who was a talented badminton player, representing both East Lothian and Lothian.

Alyson said: “It is incredible.

“I did not realise how many people knew her through badminton, through school and she is just one of those people that everybody knew.

“She was so young and it was so shocking and out of the blue.

“It is incredible and there have been over 300 people who have donated.”

The funeral service took place on December 17 at Mortonhall Crematorium in Edinburgh.

Students from Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band honoured Pipe Major Freya’s sister by performing a musical tribute in Ellie’s memory.

On the last day of the school term, pipe band members gathered to play a song in honour of their ‘PL sister’ Ellie.

Gavin Clark (pictured below), headteacher at the Prestonpans secondary school, paid tribute to Ellie.

East Lothian Courier: Headteacher Gavin Clark

He said: “Ellie was a much-loved student and we were all so pleased that she had made such a success of her time after PL. Staff remember her fondly and many have commented on how she was a really positive, upbeat, likeable and very able member of our school community.

“It must be an incredibly tough time for her family and friends, and our thoughts are with them.”

Christine Black, former East Lothian badminton development officer, added: “Ellie was just a beautiful person and such a joy to work with in East Lothian.

“She always made me smile and everybody loved her.

“It is just so sad.”

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological conditions.

A spokesman for Epilepsy Scotland told the Courier how the money raised would make a difference.

He said: “No words can describe how tragic it is to lose a young person to epilepsy.

“We are immensely grateful for such generosity at this incredibly sad time, with friends and family donating in loving memory of Ellie.

“The money raised in Ellie’s memory will make a huge difference and will help us support the 55,000 people across Scotland affected by epilepsy.”

A spokesperson for the University of Dundee also offered their condolences.

They said: “We have been deeply saddened by the sudden death of Ellie and our thoughts are with her family and friends.”

Friends of Ellie described the student as kind, loving, beautiful and smiley.

To donate to Epilepsy Scotland in Ellie’s memory, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/alyson-birss