Five year old Hackney girl and grand father who drowned in Portugal is named

Little Lara Lewis drowned while holidaying

The five year old girl who along with her grand father drowned yesterday while holidaying in Portugal, has been named as Lara Lewis, from Lower Clapton.

Lara and her grand parents Brian and Jill O’Dwyer were washed away by a freak wave as they walked and played along the Salgado beach in the town of Nazare.  Two fishermen witnessed the incident and struggled to rescue them, but medics were unable to save both Lara and her grand father.

“The grandfather was already dead when he was pulled from the sea and the INEM (National Institute of Emergency Medicine) team did their best to revive the young girl but to no avail,” said Alberquerque e Silva, the commander of the Port of Nazare rescue services.

“The two victims, accompanied by the grandmother and a younger child, had left the area of Salgada beach, which is under lifeguard surveillance, and went for a walk during and believe they must have been knocked over and swept away by the waves.”

Lara as a toddler with her grand father Brian O'Dwyer who trying to save her life

It is thought that Lara was playing with sea shells on the sand near the water, when a huge wave engulfed her,  leading her grandparents to go after her.  A life guide said: “We put the red flags everywhere  because it became dangerous.  We only covered part of the beach and they walked to where there were no flags. Some of the waves where up to 10 feet high”.

Her parents Philip and Sian Lewis were sunbathing just further down the beach, when Lara and her younger sister were taken for a walk by their grandparents.

Neighbours on Glenarm Road, in Clapton where the Lewis family live, spoke very fondly of Lara and her family describing little Lara as “absolutely charming”.  Neighbour David Mason said he remembered seeing her being brought home after her birth in her mothers arms.

Lara and her mum Sian on holiday in Mexico

Lara who had only recently started at Rushmore Primary School  in Clapton, was described by headmaster Ian Mullaney as “a delightful young girl from a lovely family”.

“This has come as a huge shock to the whole Rushmore community, Mr Mullaney said.

‘Lara was a bright, friendly and positive girl who was well liked by her teachers and classmates.

‘It is a tragedy and the news is just sinking in for all of us.’

Mr Lewis 46,  is a Professor of Remote Sensing at University College London. The family is being assisted by the foreign office and are awaiting the release of  the bodies, before they return home to the UK.

Dad Philip Lewis and daughter Lara



The sunshine girls


About Remi

Remi Hackney Hive founder, publisher and contributor. Hackneyite and all round Girl Friday who couldn't wait to leave Hackney and London behind her. After hitching her wagon in California, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana for 18 years, with a brief spell in Mexico, the prodigal daughter returned to London, happy to put an unconventional and risqué past behind her. It sometimes feels like she’s still at war with herself. This often leads her into a whole lot of trouble, although it’s fair to blame it on some of her best qualities: intelligence, original thinking, willingness to take risks, skepticism, rebelliousness, independence, and creativity. But you know what, much of the trouble she gets into is because she can’t help pointing out that the emperor is naked. Remi still lives by her own rules, nobody else’s. She is owned by her two dogs Deffer(a Jack Russell ) Darcy (a Jack Russell/Pomeranian mix now deceased but can’t remove their names) and two Black cats she adopted December 2021, Desmond and Tutu. She is proprietor of London’s finest and long established pet sitting service. The big smoke is home for the moment, but she desperately yearns wide open spaces, where she hopes to call home in the near future.


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