The family of a popular 13-year-old schoolgirl have been left devastated after she passed away unexpectedly.

Grace Handling was found dead at a house in Arran Place in Irvine on Friday, June 29.

The beautiful teenager’s death has sent shockwaves around the community as her friends and family try to cope with the devastating news.

Grace’s dad Stewart told the Times the loss of his youngest daughter has left he and wife Lorraine, sister Dani and brother Matthew “broken hearted”.

He said: “Obviously we are heartbroken. Grace was a bright girl who loved life. She was looking forward to summer with her family and friends.

“Grace lit up our lives and she was adored by us. Our faith is giving us a lot of strength and reassurance.”

Irvine Royal Academy, where Grace was a pupil, has opened its doors to any pupils who need counselling to cope with the loss of their friend.

On Wednesday around 300 people gathered on Irvine Beach’s Park to remember their “shining star” and released balloons into the sky in a touching tribute organised by Grace’s older sister Dani.

Dad Stewart said: “There was hundreds of people there for Grace and we can take some comfort from that. “She was so very loved. It was quite overwhelming.”

At the moment Police Scotland are treating Grace’s death as “unexplained”, but confirmed to the Times there are “no suspicious circumstances”.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “At around 2.40pm on Friday, June 29, the body of a female was found within a property on Arran Place, Irvine.

“A post mortem examination has been carried out this week. The death is not being treated as suspicious , however further forensic tests will be carried out in due course to establish the cause of death.”

North Ayrshire Council said there would be help on hand for any pupils affected by Grace’s passing.

A spokesman said: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our thoughts and prayers are with the young girl’s family at this very difficult time.

“We are aware that this news will affect many people in the local community and we will ensure that we continue to work with the school and community to provide support.”

A Book of Remembrance has been set up for Grace and will be in Fullarton Connexions Church in Irvine.

The book opened on Monday, July 9 where you can sign and write a comforting message.

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