The heartbroken family of a teenager who had “lots of dreams” have paid tribute to their beloved sister and daughter.
Lucy Candlish, 19, from Blackhill, County Durham, was discovered in a wooded area in Consett on Wednesday after she went missing.
She had not been seen since leaving her family home at around 5.30pm on Sunday.
Her family has now paid tribute to a “vivacious fun-loving 19-year-old who always had a smile on her face” and had hopes of doing charity work abroad.
Lucy loved taking care of other people, her parents said.
Her mum Melanie said her daughter’s selfless attitude and kindness had a lasting effect on everyone she knew.
“She was always supportive of anybody that was down even though she was down herself,” she said.
Sister Beverley added: “She would put all of her sadness to one side just to help somebody else.”
The former St Bede’s Catholic School pupil worked as a carer after previously training as a hairdresser.
Melanie explained: “She had lots of dreams. She always talked about going to do charity and volunteer work abroad.
“Lucy never really excelled at school but she’s got more certificates than I’ve ever had since she left.
“It was the perfect job for her.”
Lucy began working in end of life care in September and had told her family how much she enjoyed work.
Her dad Ian said: “She was fantastic with the clients – they thought the world of her – and she was doing such a great job.
“She loved her job, she loved taking care of people.”
Appeals for information on Lucy’s whereabouts were shared thousands of times online and the family thanked everyone who shared a post or provided support.
Beverley said: “There’s strangers wanting to do anything they can. It’s really heartwarming to see all the support that everyone is giving us.
“It’s touched so many people’s hearts and I didn’t think for one second that we’d have people from all over the country helping.”
The K2 and The Union Bar in Consett, one of Lucy’s favourite drinking spots, was lit up with pink lights in memory of Lucy on Thursday as well as Durham Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge in Gateshead.
An online fundraiser set up in memory of Lucy has raised more than £1,000 and the family said they will be launching a campaign for a young people’s mental health charity in due course.
Sister Natalie said: “We want to choose something around Lucy’s legacy and something that would make her proud.
“We want to work together where we could look at linking with the community to support other young people in a similar situation to Lucy to help prevent this for somebody else.”
Beverley added: “We want to do this because it’ll mean that she hasn’t gone in vain and it’s what she would have wanted.”
The 19-year-old had previously received support from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services earlier in her teenage years, and the family have urged young people struggling with their mental health to talk to friends and family about their feelings.
Mum Melanie said: “She just wanted to make herself happy all the time because she was quite a sad person so she was always looking at doing new things.
“I think she didn’t realise how many people loved her.”
Dad Ian said the family are still coming to terms with Lucy’s sudden death.
“For us parents, watching our child struggle is soul destroying,” he said.
“We have a safe in the kitchen with all the medication in it so Lucy could never get access, but when she asked for paracetamol a few days ago she said ‘I would never ever do anything like that now’.
“A few days later she’s gone.”