Carlisle teenager Tom McNeill dies on Bulgaria holiday

Tom McNeill
Image caption Tom was on holiday with his best friend's family

A Cumbrian teenager has died after reportedly falling from a balcony while on holiday in Bulgaria.

Tom McNeill, 17, from Carlisle, died on Sunday in the resort of Sunny Beach.

His family said he was on holiday with his best friend and his family and it was his first holiday away from his own family.

Details about his death have not been confirmed but his family said they had been told he had fallen from a balcony while sunbathing.

It is thought he had been lying on the wide wall of the first-floor balcony and rolled over the wrong way, perhaps after falling asleep.

Tom was the eldest son of David and Sallie McNeill, who run Carlisle-based StagedRight Productions and Youth Theatre. He had a younger brother, Jack, 15.

'Salt of the earth'

They said he had been having an "amazing time" and had rung home the day before he died to speak to his family and wish his brother happy birthday.

They are planning to travel to Bulgaria as soon as they can.

In a statement, they said: "Tom is the salt of the earth, a charming, mature and loving boy who always put family first.

"He was the most wonderful and loved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, boyfriend and friend.

"Tom touched everyone he met in a quiet unassuming way and he had such a vision of what he wanted and where he wanted to go in life.

"Tom has left a hole in our lives that we cannot ever imagine will heal but he is with us in all we do. We love him so much."

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: "We can confirm the death of a British National in Bulgaria on 24 July 2011.

"We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time."

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