Published: 14:34, 23 April 2019
| Updated: 08:42, 24 April 2019
More than £15,000 has been raised to help get a talented young dancer who died home to America.
Lucy Richards, 21, a former student at Brockhill Park Performing Arts College and Instep Dance Company in Hythe, was found dead over the Easter weekend.
Now, tributes for the young woman, who was studying contemporary dance at the University of Chichester, have described her as very bright, bubbly and a 'joy to watch perform'.
Lucy, originally from Colorado, moved to Hythe around five years ago with her mum Annie.
She joined Brockhill Park as a student in Year 10 in 2014 and also became a member Instep Dance Company, which runs in partnership with the secondary school.
After completing her A-levels in 2017 she decided to study for a BA honours in dance at university, while her mum returned to the States.
Jackie Mortimer, artistic director at Instep Dance Company, paid tribute, saying: "Lucy danced because it was what she loved to do.
"She was also very good at it.
"And all of us at Instep are grateful for the opportunity to have danced alongside her or to have watched her dance.
"She brought artistry, joy and power to her performances.
"We always feel proud of those students who go forward to study dance, those who choose to make it part of their continuing lives.
"Lucy made that choice and was approaching the end of her second year in a dance degree.
"She is much missed by those of us who taught her and who danced alongside her.
"We gave ourselves some special memories which we will all carry forward.
"We will celebrate her joy of dance in our end of year shows this July."
Sonette Schwartz, principal at Brockhill Park Performing Arts College, said: "She was lovely - very bubbly, bright and successful.
"It is such a shock and very sad.
"We are deeply saddened for her family."
A University of Chichester spokesperson said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm the death of one of our students.
"Our thoughts and condolences are with their family and friends, to whom we are offering support.
"We are working closely with the appropriate authorities and as such we are not in a position to provide further details at this time.”
Following Lucy's death a GoFundMe page was set up to help pay to get Lucy back home to Colorado.
A post on the fundraising page said: "Annie's daughter Lucy passed away suddenly in England.
"Annie must fly to England to bring her Lucy, 21, home to Colorado.
"She needs our help as the expenses are going to be astronomical."
So far $20,795 has been donated, which equates to £16,048.
Tributes have also been posted to the online site.
Abigail Bailey-Vinter said: "RIP Lucy - such a talented, caring young lady."
Emily Davidson added: "Rest in peace beautiful girl.
"You were always the life and soul of the party and you will always be well loved and missed."
The cause of Lucy's death has not yet been confirmed.
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