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Tributes after British student nurse Millie Gentry, 19, drowns during midnight swim in Ghana

Millie Gentry drowned in strong waves while on a placement in Ghana (Gateway Funeral Services)
Millie Gentry drowned in strong waves while on a placement in Ghana (Gateway Funeral Services)

A British student nurse has tragically died in Ghana after going for a midnight swim with friends while on a placement.

Millie Ann Gentry, 19, from Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, was two weeks into a one month volunteer programme in the west African country when she drowned.

The tragedy happened on March 17 last year but the details have now been made public with the teen’s inquest opening this week.

Ms Gentry was staying with Erin Byrnes, from Halifax, in Busua - a beach resort town in southern Ghana.

The coroners’ court heard that the two friends had decided to go for a late night dip with their friend Lewis Mallinson after drinking at the beach bar.

They defied a 10.30pm curfew to nip out for a swim at half past midnight but encountered strong waves.

Ms Byers told the court that she was not a strong swimmer and that the current “pulled us all in,” Yorkshire Live reports.

"I laid on my back, screaming for help. I was so close to giving up,” she said.

She and Mr Mallinson were able to make it back to the beach and call for help to find Ms Gentry but sadly her body was found four hours later.

Mr Mallinson said that several local villages had joined the effort to help save Ms Gentry. A post mortem revealed that she had a head injury.

The Mirror reported that Ms Gentry had a boyfriend called Elvis and that the Ghana placement was the “trip of a lifetime” for her.

Busua beach resort in Ghana (Google Maps)
Busua beach resort in Ghana (Google Maps)

A Crowdfunding page has now been set up to support the Gentry family.

A statement on the site reads: “Mims was a beloved member of the Gomersal Primary School community as well as daughter to one of our much loved colleagues and friends.

“As a past pupil Millie will be remembered as a bright, smiley and caring individual.

“She was studying to be a children’s nurse at Bradford University and participating in a volunteer program in Ghana.

“She will be sorely missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew her.”

The page, at the time of writing, had raised more than £4,000.