A fatal mistake
When Janine Milburn, 41, from Havant, waved her teenager goodbye, she didn't know she'd never come home
With her combat boots and bum bag, my daughter Georgia, 18, was all dressed and ready for festival season.
‘Got the tickets?’ she yelled to her sister Danielle, 21, who was scraping her hair into a messy bun.
‘Argh, they’re in my room!’ she said, racing upstairs.
I had to laugh.
It was 10am on a Saturday morning last May, and for weeks the Mutiny Festival in nearby Portsmouth was all my girls had talked about.
‘Craig David is playing on the Sunday,’ they’d said excited.
Typical of my two, everything was a last-minute rush. But finally, with weekend passes shoved into their bum bags, they hugged me goodbye and scurried out the door. ‘Be careful,’ I shouted after them. ‘Have fun, love you.’ ‘Love you too,’ they chorused. Nothing much had changed since they were little. They were still just as feisty, always keeping me on my toes.
Georgia was just like me – fiery and stubborn, but she also had a giant heart.
Even as a tot, she was always the first to make friends.
Now, she was always out shopping with her mates or off to the cinema.
And when it came to parties she was first on the dance floor.
No matter what, my girl knew how to have a good time.
She loved getting dolled up and dancing all night.
But, unlike most girls her age, Georgia never seemed bothered about booze.
I know because before her first house party at 15, we had a long chat.
‘There will be some kids there drinking,’ she shrugged. ‘But I’m not interested.’
I wasn’t born yesterday. I knew she’d likely try something.
‘Well, don’t feel like you have to, but if you do, be sensible,’ I smiled.
To forbid it would only make things worse.
And trying new things is part of growing up.
Besides, I trusted Georgia. That’s why I’d let her go to Mutiny the year before.
It was only 10 minutes away, so she hadn’t needed to camp. And the festival was strict – only sold alcohol to people with ID if they looked under 25.
‘It was brilliant!’ she’d said. I’d no doubt she’d say the same when she got in later.
‘I’m sure she’ll tell us all about it!’ my eldest Charlotte, 23, laughed to me and my hubby Daniel, 42.
She couldn’t go, had to work. Later, as I busied myself in the garden, I kept my phone nearby just in case.
A good thing, too, because at 3pm it rang.
It was Danielle and she sounded flustered.
‘Mum, it’s Georgia. She’s fitting,’ she explained breathless.
You see, Daniel had epilepsy so we were used to dealing with seizures.
Danielle had acted fast, got the paramedics with her.
‘She should be OK,’ Danielle said.
But I was worried. Danielle’s boyfriend Kylan, who hadn’t gone to the festival, arrived and drove me to her.
I expected to find Georgia sitting up, recovering.
Instead, I saw her combat boots disappearing inside the back of an ambulance.
She wasn’t fitting any more but wasn’t conscious either.
Worried, I got in the back of the ambulance.
‘Mum’s here,’ I said, stroking her hand as they rushed us to Queen Alexandra Hospital.
Doctors went back and forth
Just hours ago, she’d been full of happiness and excitement
between Georgia and the room where I waited.
Each time, they said something different. ‘Does she have fits often?’ Or...
‘She’s been fitting for 45 minutes.’
But most disconcerting of all…
‘Do you know what she’s taken?’
At first I didn’t understand the question.
Surely they couldn’t think Georgia had taken drugs?
Then it dawned on me: festivals and drugs, sadly, often go hand in hand.
It was natural that they’d assume she’d taken something.
I didn’t want to believe it. But she’d never had a fit before, let alone a serious one.
I frantically tried to reach her friends and sister who were all still at the festival.
No-one had realised how serious Georgia’s condition was.
But with every minute that ticked by, the situation grew more grave. Georgia’s body was shutting down.
Doctors kept fighting to resuscitate her but soon it was proving impossible.
That’s when they sat me down.
‘Call family and friends and get them here if you can, it won’t be long,’ they said.
I was stunned. Just a few hours ago, my girl had been full of happiness and excitement. Now I was losing her. In shock, I rallied as many friends and family members as I could.
Daniel comforted me as Danielle and Charlotte arrived.
We were all sobbing.
It was 8pm when doctors came to turn off Georgia’s life support.
My heart was breaking, but I was so angry, too.
Preliminary hospital tests suggested she had taken drugs.
‘How could you be so stupid?’ I fumed to Georgia through my tears.
It was devastating.
She wasn’t a druggie. Now, because of one stupid decision, she’d lost everything.
As Georgia took her final breath, my anger was replaced by sheer pain.
‘Come back, please,’ I sobbed.
But my beautiful girl was gone forever.
Mutiny cancelled its Sunday event and refunded everyone’s tickets.
We learned another young lad, Tommy Cowan, 20, had died too. Even Craig David tweeted, My heart goes out to the family
and friends of the two young people who lost their lives at Mutiny Festival...
Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard that Georgia had taken two ‘rogue’ ecstasy pills at the festival, and that five people had been arrested for the supply of drugs.
The festival organiser said anti-drugs measures were of an ‘excellent standard’.
I was devastated. My girl was a good kid. She’d made a choice many young people make and, if they’re lucky, they get away with.
Sadly, my Georgia paid the ultimate price.
I’m heartbroken. But I’m sharing Georgia’s story, not only to warn people about drugs but to make a difference.
That’s why we started our campaign for more rigorous testing of drugs at festivals, and education in schools. I’m even working with the owner of Mutiny Festival to make changes for next year’s event.
No-one should have to lose their child this way.
My girl was not a drug addict. She was just a young girl who made one silly – and fatal – mistake.
To support the campaign, go to facebook.com/georgia-jonesDont-go-with-theFlo-528583060891308/
I want things to change
Gone much too soon
Craig David sent a tweet