A BALLOON release in memory of two young people who died after falling ill at a music festival was ‘everyone’s way of saying goodbye’.
Tears flowed as the loved ones of Tommy Cowan and Georgia Jones gathered at Staunton Country Park to pay tribute.
More than 100 people came together last night with balloons and messages of love for the pair.
They all stood silently as the balloons were released and floated away.
Father-of-one Tommy, 20, and Georgia, 18, were taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital after falling ill at Mutiny Festival on Saturday evening.
They sadly passed away later that night.
Damian Cowan, Tommy’s dad from Havant, thanked everyone who went to pay tribute.
Speaking to The News, he said: ‘This is everyone’s way of saying goodbye.
‘There are people here who knew either Tommy or Georgia, from different parts of their lives but we have all come together to remember them.
‘It shows how much they were loved that so many people could come at such short notice.
‘I do appreciate that everyone has shown up for support.
‘It has been hard but it is nice to see everyone come together from both sides.’
Mr Cowan described Tommy, from Havant, as a lovely person and a great dad.
He had previously said: ‘He meant everything to me, he was my boy.
‘He was funny, he loved life and he loved his little boy. He was everything. He was a good lad.’
In his message tied to a big love heart balloon, Mr Cowan wrote: ‘My baby boy, fly high with the angels and enjoy your sleep.
‘My baby miss you loads, love you forever, until we meet again, love always Dad.’
In a statement released through police, Georgia’s family said: ‘Georgia was a very strong-willed and opinionated young lady.
‘She was a shoulder for anyone that needed it.
‘She loved her job working with people with learning and physical difficulties.
‘We just hope she uses her “indoor voice” wherever she may be.’
Georgia’s mum Janine Milburn posted on Facebook that her daughter ‘had died due to complications after taking two pills’.
She added she hoped this incident would deter others from taking drugs.
As previously reported in The News, following the deaths of Georgia, from Havant, and Tommy organisers of Mutiny Festival, held on King George V playing fields in Cosham, cancelled the final day of the event.
In a statement they released on Sunday, they said it was ‘as a safety precaution’.
They had earlier warned festival-goers of a ‘bad batch’ of a substance.
A spokeswoman from Queen Alexandra Hospital said 15 people from Mutiny, including Tommy and Georgia, were admitted for treatment.
One of those remains in a critical condition although had made slight improvements since Saturday.
Yesterday police said they had arrested three people in connection with the supply of drugs at Mutiny, as questions continue to be raised about the security at the event.
On Sunday night, police arrested a 20-year-old man from Havant, a 20-year-old man from Waterlooville and a 22-year-old man from Cosham on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
As of last night, they were in police custody as the investigation continues.
Now one security guard who was at the festival told The News that he was concerned with how quickly people were getting through the entry gates and the fact that staff did not have the authority to do full-body searches.
The guard, who asked to remain anonymous, says that he also thinks there should have been more staff on duty.
He said: ‘In my opinion everything was happening much too quickly.
‘In the searching area there were so many people packed in that we couldn’t tell who had been searched and who hadn’t.
‘If people did have anything on them they were taken to a search area that was mixed gender – that should never happen.
‘From what I saw all that was searched was people’s pockets and their wallets – because we aren’t police we cannot do a full-body search.
‘I also think there should have been more sniffer dogs at the festival and much more security.
‘I think the whole event needs rethinking – the entrance needs to be slowed down and I believe the checks should be much more thorough.’
Festival-goer Georgina Newman, 23 from Selsey, says that the security at Mutiny Festival was not as watertight as it has been at other festivals she has attended.
She said: ‘I don’t think that people going into the festival were being searched properly.
‘Nobody was being patted down – it seemed like chaos as everyone poured through the gates.’
According to Georgina, she saw people with under 18 wristbands passing alcohol around, saw evidence of drug taking and fights breaking out.
‘The whole situation was just very uncomfortable,’ she added.
Hampshire police have confirmed that sniffer dogs on the gates were the responsibility of the festival organisers and not associated with Hampshire Constabulary.
Vespasian Security has been approached by The News but declined to comment.