'We miss them dearly': Husband's tribute after tragic death of sisters


Laura and Lewis Daniels with Hannah Witheridge at a party - Credit: Lewis Daniels

They were much-loved sisters whose deaths rocked a coastal community.

And even as the family of Hannah Witheridge, who was murdered in 2014, and Laura Daniels, who died while pregnant in 2019, come to terms with their loss they know the popular sisters’ legacy lives on in fundraising drives.

Hannah, 23 and of Hemsby, was murdered while she was on holiday in Thailand in 2014.

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Hannah Witheridge - Credit: Archant

Tragically five years later her sister Laura, who had worked as a pediatric nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, died aged 30.

After her sister’s death Laura had a burning desire to keep Hannah's memory alive and embarked on fundraising for the Faith animal charity, a cause very close to their family’s hearts.

Laura Witheridge

Laura Daniels - Credit: Archant

Laura’s husband Lewis Daniels has now spoken of how their family are still affected daily by their deaths and honours their memory by continuing to work with Faith.

Mr Daniels, 36 and who had been with Laura for 12 years, said: “They were two incredible young ladies whose lives were cut far too short.

“Losing Hannah in 2014 in the way we did was unthinkable. Hannah’s sister, my wife Laura Daniels, had a burning desire to  keep Hannah’s memory alive.

“She started fundraising for Faith, a local animal rescue that sits very close to our hearts. 

“Losing Laura in 2019 was equally unthinkable. The emotional pain we have experienced as a family is immense and something that doesn’t reduce over time."

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“We miss both Laura and Hannah so much. It’s incredibly difficult without them but we are trying to focus on the great memories and doing positive things to remember two very special people who achieved so much in such little time," he added.

He thanked his family and friends for their "fantastic support", adding: "We have continued what Laura started, raising money for Faith in memory of them both. 

"Purple was their favourite colour and this theme runs through all the events we do. 

“We will continue to celebrate the lives of two very special young ladies who are dearly missed.” 

Last year Mr Daniels, who still lives in Norfolk and works in marketing, did an 100-mile cycle ride with two friends and also ran a marathon which raised £4,700 for Faith. 

He said: “Although it was more challenging with restrictions I did both events virtually here in Norfolk and had fantastic support leading up to and on the day.

“For the marathon, I was wearing a personalised T-shirt with a picture of Laura and myself on and a floral motif for Hannah. I was also presented with a unique medal at the finish, made by a close friend.”

Laura and Hannah had spent many a happy time as children at Croft Farm Riding Centre in Filby.


Laura Daniels at a fundraising event at Croft Farm Riding Centre - Credit: Lewis Daniels

As a tribute to the much-missed sisters the centre now runs an annual fundraising memorial show. 

What started as the Hannah Witheridge Fun Show is now the Hannah & Laura Fun Show, with a range of classes for horses, show classes for dogs, and a mini bake-off, raffle and tombola.

All proceeds go to Faith.

Family friend Jake Keeley, owner of Norfolk Golf Tours, has also launched an annual Bawburgh Bandits golf event at Bawburgh Golf Club as a charity fundraiser for Faith. 

More than 100 people took part in the day, which featured a professional trick shot show, music, team and individual golf prizes, a barbecue and a charity auction. It raised another £4,200 for Faith.


The charity golf day at Bawburgh Golf Club raised £4,200 for Faith - Credit: Lewis Daniels

Hannah, a former pupil at Langley School, had been studying for an MA in speech therapy at the University of Essex in Colchester prior to her holiday to Thailand.

She was murdered alongside backpacker David Miller, 24 and from Jersey, in September 2014 on the tiny island of Koh Tao.

Two Burmese migrants convicted over the killings saw their death sentences reduced to life imprisonment in 2020.

Laura later died at Southampton General Hospital on September 16, 2019 and an inquest heard she had undergone numerous surgeries and treatments at various hospitals over the years. 

She appeared at the Norfolk Safer Community Awards in Norwich in 2016 when a new award was presented in memory of Hannah acknowledging the work of police family liaison officers.

Croft Farm Riding Centre in Filby is holding a fun horse show, gymkhana etc, in memory of Hemsby’s H

Croft Farm Riding Centre in Filby holds a fun horse show in memory of the sisters - Credit: Nick Butcher