Fundraiser launched and calls for tougher security measures at Dreamland following death of teenage girl

A fundraiser for funeral costs has been launched after Emily sadly lost her life on Saturday

A fundraiser has been launched and a call made for gigs at Dreamland to be suspended until an investigation has concluded following the tragic death of a 17-year-old girl on Saturday night (June 29)

Emergency services were called to help teenager Emily Stokes, who had been attending the Worried About Henry drum and bass event at Dreamland, but sadly she died at QEQM Hospital.

Her 19-year-old sister Megan says the cause was thought to be a drug overdose and she believes her younger sister was spiked.

Megan has now set up a fundraiser to help pay funeral costs.

Writing on the fundraiser page Megan says: “I’m starting up a gofundme as my younger sister has tragically passed away from an overdose from being spiked in Margate.

“Emily was the kindest person you could ever meet. She was so full of life and to have her taken away so suddenly at just 17 years old has completely broken me.

“It breaks my heart that we may not be able to give her the send off she would’ve wanted.”

The appeal has already raised £2,766 of the £3,000 total.

Find the fundraising page here

The tragedy has resulted in a call from district councillor Marc Rattigan to suspend further events at the park until an investigation has been carried out. Cllr Rattigan says steps must be taken to make sure security is stepped up and an onsite paramedic team is arranged at future Dreamland events.

He said generally concerts at the venue have been good for the area but ‘rave’ type events have created problems which need to be addressed.

He has written to the authority, saying: “Tragically, a 17-year-old lost their life and reports from the teenager’s sister suggest the young individual was spiked. Numerous attendees were hospitalised, echoing similar incidents from last year.

“Conversations with event-goers revealed that 80% were not subjected to security checks upon entry. Additionally, while walking around Margate on Saturday, I observed large groups of underage, intoxicated teens causing disturbances throughout the town.

“Despite the event being advertised as 16+, it was evident that many participants were under this age limit. While concert-style music events have been a positive influence on Margate’s regeneration, these particular raves are bringing unwanted trouble, including anti-social behaviour and increased drug activity. This is tarnishing the town’s reputation.

“It is crucial for us, as a council, to ensure that such events are managed effectively. Disturbingly, reports indicate the 17-year-old was left unattended for nearly 20 minutes before receiving medical assistance.

“I propose council should be making sure the following measures are carried out :

  1. Strict ID policy enforcement at entry points.
  2. Stringent drug and weapon checks with increased security presence.
  3. A well-equipped paramedic team on-site.

“Given the severity of the weekend’s events, I ask the council to look at suspending further events pending a thorough investigation.”

Police investigation and drug supply arrests

Police are carrying out enquiries into the circumstances

Police are investigating the circumstances of Emily’s death.

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Kent Police was called at 5.58pm on Saturday 29 June to be made aware of the death of a 17-year-old girl at the QEQM hospital in Margate.

“Enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding the death and a report is being made for the coroner.”

The force has also confirmed reports of drug dealing in the area were received on the day and seven people were arrested on suspected dealing offences. Two of those were released without charge and five were bailed pending further enquiries.

The Kent Police spokesperson added: “Officers on patrol on Margate seafront on the afternoon of Saturday 29 June 2024 were made aware of drug dealing concerns in the area.

“During the afternoon, evening and the following morning, seven people were arrested on suspicion of drug supply offences in separate instances.

“Five of those arrested have since been released on bail pending further enquiries. Two were released without charge.”

‘Taking matters seriously’

A spokesperson for Thanet council said the authority is taking the matter seriously and will look at what action to take as the licensing authority based on police findings and advice.

The spokesperson said: “We were advised of the tragic news that this weekend a young person died in hospital, having attended an event at Dreamland. Our thoughts are with their family and friends at this sad time.

“The incident is being investigated by Kent Police. We are in touch with them and within our remit as licensing authority will consider what action to take in light of their findings and on the basis of their advice. We’d like to reassure residents that the council is fully aware and is taking the matter very seriously.”

‘Deeply saddened’

Dreamland

A Dreamland spokesperson said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of a seventeen year old woman in hospital on Saturday 29th June.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the young woman’s family and friends and we will continue to work closely with Kent Police where relevant as they investigate this tragedy further.”

They said they were unable to comment further because of the ongoing police investigation.

Dreamland has a busy series of gigs this Summer and most events have been held without serious issues but there have been suggestions from the public that an 18+ age limit should be enforced in future. The site did have a paramedic tent at the Worried About Henry event.

44 Comments

  1. This poor girl’s family, I feel so desperately sorry for them. RIP

    But for Marc Rattigan to attribute the blame towards a genre of music, is like blaming school shootings in the US on the shooters watching certain movies.

    Please can we call this what it is, it is violence against women and girls, that is the problem that needs fixing…..urgently.

    • I largely agree, but some genres of music are more associated with illicit drug use than others – to the extent that warnings are issued about “bad” drugs (and there’s me thinking all drugs are bad). Fortunately, the only drugs taken at the gigs I attend are usually statins!

      • Many people take drugs, but not all drug users are violent towards women and girls. Drugs are certainly not the cause of such violence. Violence against women and girls stems from certain individuals’ attitudes and beliefs about how they can treat women. This violence is also committed by people who attend adult contemporary rock music performances, not just those who go to drum and bass gigs. Violence against women and girls is the primary issue here.

        • It wasn’t violence against women and girls being the primary issue here, it was misuse of drugs. The girls sister said she was spiked. But this has been going on there for far too long. Last year had similar incidents with people taken to hospital. It is not until someone has died though that it is now being taken seriously.

          Cllr Marc Rattigan is correct in requesting that certain measures are put in place and that future gigs are put on hold until those measures are taken. Security is very poor, identity is not being checked, bags are not checked. Paramedics and first aid are not visibly present. Where were they when they were needed? 20 minutes for help to arrive? With the huge crowds present in a confined space how does someone get the help needed? How do the public escape in the case of an emergency? Who gave a licence to this public events premises without these standards being in place? Who has been checking on them to see standards are upkept? It is really diabolical the local authority not doing these basic checks. Who is at fault for this poor girl’s passing? Obviously the culprit/s for one, but anyone else?
          You should be able to go out and enjoy yourself without having to worry about untoward happenings taking place. I feel sorry for anyone who has been spiked it should not be expected as just part of the experience of an outdoor event. One life is one too many. Do the right thing Dreamland and TDC.

          • Immediately disbelieving women who say they are victims makes you part of the problem of violence against women and girls. You have no evidence to the contrary that her sister was not spiked. I work with women who have been subjected to this sort of violence, and who have no reason to lie about it. Statistics show that of reported spiking incidents 74% are women. I have no idea how the venue operates its safety procedures so can’t comment on what needs to be done but getting and keeping licenses is not easy. Bag checks will not suddenly stop people from taking drugs or spiking others, the problem is far more nuanced and complex.

    • Drum and Bass is notorious with drug us, it’s a valid point to raise.

      And violence against women and girls? How did you come up with that conclusion ?

      • Are you serious? A young woman being spiked is a violent act. Drugs are the secondary issue here, the venue could search every single visitor and maybe they will stop drugs from being used in the violence against women and girls, but it won’t stop the underlying toxic attitude of certain individuals who are prepared to commit this violence.

          • I take that back. After doing some research it seems that all of the victims have been female. Worrying.

          • In this country maybe, but in Brazil foreign males are targetted in clubs and bars, their drinks are spiked by the barstaff working with (usually) female accomplice who then befriend the male, go back with them to their hotel rooms and then rob them once they’ve passed out.
            Undoubtedly happens in the uk and elsewhere too but just goes unreported.

        • The point I’m making is that there has been no proof as of yet that she was spiked, you are assuming! There’s been lots of rumours swirling around, If it turns out to be true then I completely agree with what you have said. None the less the whole situation shouldn’t have happened.

          • From the article: Cllr Marc Rattigan…. He has written to the authority, saying: “Tragically, a 17-year-old lost their life and reports from the teenager’s sister suggest the young individual was spiked. Numerous attendees were hospitalised, echoing similar incidents from last year.

          • Ramsgate Resident, the “spiking” explanation is used many times by those having a bad reaction to a drug they’ve knowingly taken. Doing this doesn’t label them as a drug user and also means they won’t be asked where they got the drugs from, ( which again is handy as often amongst a group of friends , it is one of the group that procures the drugs).
            Police and medical professionals here the spiking excuse regularly. Not that it doesn’t happen but usually it’s by having the drug added to a drink and the motive for doing so is usually either sexual or robbery.
            When such excuses are used, it moves the blame onto others and wastes a huge amount of various authorities time.
            The most common theme is that you get a batch of poor quality drugs being distributed at a venue and as a result you get multiple casualties, its not uncommon for these to be younger less “ experienced” drug takers.
            Drug culture and the criminal enterprises around them are the problem not the venue.
            Police state,ents are laughable given the tolerance shown for drug dealing around thanet.
            In 2022 there were 4700 drug related deaths, this death is unfortunately just going to be one of a similar number this year.

  2. Mr Rattigan is right, unfortunately we have a real problem with some and NOT all youths at the moment. There has always been bad behaviour but it seems some people in society at the moment just can’t behave. Any large event unfortunately always gets some trouble. But this event now on two occasions has been spoiled with the use of drugs and now a girl has passed away. Dreamland really needs to think about what it be puts on at their event space. If there is regular trouble for concerts attracting a younger crowd, Do not put them on. Dreamland please do not just do it for the money! Margate is for all, but the concert you arranged on Saturday was a disaster.
    Dreamland obviously do not have enough security in place and there was very little Police presence in Margate that day.

    • I was at this event and the fact they made it over 16s is horrendous. Your never stop people taking drugs at a rave or sneaking them in, but there were a lot of well under 16 year olds in there. All raves should be over 21s at least in my opinion. It’s shocking to let kids into raves and I saw many being carted out for being extremely intoxicated.

    • I was at this event and the fact they made it over 16s is horrendous. Your never stop people taking drugs at a rave or sneaking them in, but there were a lot of well under 16 year olds in there. All raves should be over 21s at least in my opinion. It’s shocking to let kids into raves and I saw many being carted out for being extremely intoxicated.

  3. My wife and I are in our 70s and we attended a London show , before we were allowed in all bags were searched and we had to walk through an airport type X-ray unit. The security staff were very friendly and politely explained “ it’s for all our safety”. At Deamland out granddaughter went to a gig and said “ I just walked in there was no security” yet again it has taken a tragedy of this young girl to make the council / police and Dreamland to protect the public from harm at these events. RIP Emily. Xx

  4. May the hands of time heal the hearts of the family, friends and all who knew Emily. A tragic, devastating and unjust loss of a beautiful soul. Sending heartfelt condolences and strength for all to stand shoulder to shoulder with strength. Rest in Peace Emily.

  5. You cannot blame either the gig or the venue for someone taking drugs , knowingly or unknowingly. Sadly and unfortunately drugs are fact of life in young people’s lives and they have to accept some responsibility for what happens.

  6. Its sickening. Dreamland and Thanet District council are ‘deeply saddened’.

    So what’s happening? Where’s the action? They won’t close it cos theyre weak and seem to be driven solely by making money.

    How many more people need to be spiked or worse tragically die before the council get it through their heads that theres a problem at the site and it needs to be shut until things get better.

    • Well, one person has died there in how many years of holding concerts/events? We have no idea how yet-all we have is a lot of unfounded rumours. The coroner will have access to her medical records & the results from the PM & Toxicology.

      Did Dreamland/Bembom shut the entire park down after incidents on one ride? Or did they fix the issue/get rid of the ride? A more sensible approach would be to stop hosting certain events that attract problems.

    • The lack of action from tdc and dreamland is shocking.

      Who sets what security is carried out ?

      As I said earlier as someone who goes to football and gigs. I am ‘frisked’, than metal detected over and also sniffed by a sniffer dog. This is normal what precautions do dreamland security take ?

      Dreamland should employ at top security firm someone like ‘showtec’ who do these events day in and day out.

      Something smells about tdc and
      dreamland. It’s seems to be run like a little back water without a clue of modern working practices.

      So sorry the the young girl and her family, this shouldn’t of happened.

    • Spot on Mr X, once again Thanet suffers from lack of funding. Dreamland is a haven for these ferals imported from elsewhere.
      Why wasn’t the concert shut down as soon as this poor girl was pronounced dead, which I believe was early evening. Who owns Dreamland and where is the scrutiny on how these events are policed, I bet there’s a few brown envelopes being passed under the table.
      Come on TDC, have a public enquiry with full access to licensing and ownership. Fat chance.

    • The council aren’t going to simply react with a knee jerk decision.
      This is a police matter and they will need to understand exactly what the shortcoming were in order to take informed action.
      I very much doubt anyone is sitting on their hands here.

  7. How very sad 😔
    I think it should be over 18.
    I attended an event last year and there were very young children who’s parent who were under the influence of alcohol or drugs . I spoke to security who said they couldn’t do anything. I left in the end as i felt so distressed I emailed dreamland and got no reply.

    • Well Dreamland aren’t social services , so what can they do. Your issue is with society and its attitude towards drugs. How many children have been killed by their parents, how many abandoned and how many taken into care. What you saw at Dreamland is hardly a rare case of irresponsible parenting.

  8. The licensing Committee at TDC and police should look at themselves for this tragedy. TDC have allowed these raves to be held without showing a duty of care towards those who attend. Dreamland should pay for police officers with drug dogs to be on the gates. The police only turn up AFTER the event they should show a presence BEFORE to help stop this sort of tragedy happening. Deep condolences to the family.

  9. I went to Dreamland on Thursday to see sam Ryder but agree that the security checks were a quick glance in your bags and that was it. Now this needs to be addressed urgently as without security, how is the public and indeed the artists performing going to feel knowing that they could be attacked, spiked of or worse or a repeat of Saturday.

  10. Terrible as the death is, it is not Dreamland who are selling or using the drugs, and no proof yet that they were taken on site. Agree that there should be more screening as is suitable to the event. I’ve been to many and a good time has been had by all, but I’m a long way north of being a “youth” but I know that certain events will invite certain types and perhaps they should stop those happening to avoid the happpiness of the many being spoiled by the actions of the few. More screening or more selective events would be a good way forward. Commiserations the family and friends x.

    • Well said, I too have been to many concerts and agree tbe searches should be more thorough. This is an awful thing to happen to this young girl. Strange how this spiking and drug problem is at Dreamland, you don’t hear of it at say the O2 or Wembley. Hire a proper security firm with stricter checks. It would be a shame to lose this venue and the great concerts it has staged.

  11. Only a few weeks ago, a woman was severely attacked at an event held by Dreamland, and amazingly nobody saw a thing!
    There is a huge problem there with the lack of security that actually take their jobs seriously.
    My daughter who goes out occasionally to Canterbury was also shocked that when entering a certain club, the lack of search is shocking. They will give a quick pat down on the men, but will let the lady’s go straight in! Just isn’t good enough to keep us safe.

  12. Not to be rude but unless it was GHB or something like that its unlikely she was spiked. Nobody is wasting drugs because they’re expensive and it’d take an amount to overdose. Nobody likes to admit a young girl was taking drugs but that’s the sad truth with most of these cases. Sorry.

    • From YouGov.com

      The police received 6,732 reports of spiking in the year ending April 2023, 957 relating to needle spiking.

      According to data from the National Police Chiefs’ Council published in December 2022, based on people who have reported that they have been a victim of spiking:

      The average age of victims across all types of spiking was 26 years
      Women were the victims in a large majority of all spiking offences (74%)

      • “Received reports” is a very vague term, most of these will have been the result ofnpeople attending hospital having had a bad reaction to something they knowingly took and to not wanting to admitting they take drugs just say – i must have been spiked- talk to doctors/ nurses that work in a&e it happens regularly.

        • I work in healthcare and with victims of this and similar assaults and whilst it’s true that some individuals might falsely claim spiking to avoid the stigma of drug use or legal consequences. This complicates the efforts of police and medical professionals and diverts resources from real cases. However, dismissing spiking allegations wholesale because of these false claims can have serious consequences. Genuine victims, who often face spiking for malicious purposes such as sexual assault or robbery, deserve to be heard, supported and not immediately victim blamed.

          • If you see my 10:29 post earlier in the thread, i have pretty much the opinion you do, i don’t say spiking doesn’t happen , just not to the extent reported ( for the reasons i give).

  13. Spiked… SPIKED…? I can’t imagine any drug dealer spiking someone. Drug dealers don’t give their drugs away, they don’t even offer free trials.

    Claiming to have been spiked is just an after-the-event get-out for being a clueless idiot with a victim mentality.

    Drug deaths is Darwin’s law in action.

    I suggest tickets for these shows should have a health warning… Take drugs and die.

    • Please, just stop. A very young woman lost her life. Her family and friends must be in pieces so show some respect.

  14. Unfortunately I do not think this young girl was spiked but had a bad reaction.
    I have been to many events over the years at Dreamland and was at Saturdays event with my husband, daughter and her fiance, im 52yrs and my husband is 54yrs we had a great time and all met alot of nice people.
    Dreamland does not need to stop holding events it’s good for the town and to tarnish music genre DnB to this tragedy is riddiculous ( those people seriously need to get on the same page )this happens at all concerts all
    over the world with all music genres we just do not hear about them.
    However I do agree the age restriction should be increased to 18yrs+ or even 21yrs+
    I’m looking forward to going to future
    events at Dreamland.
    Now can we please show some respect for Emily’s family. RIP Emily x

    • But on the flipside the family and friends should show the rest of society some respect and at least accept that in the absence of an investigation and proof to the contrary that the victim may have taken the drugs willingly and that as such all the furore about the way the event was run is little more than an attempt to avoid uncomfortable alternative realities.
      Modern society is too quick to make excuses for the actions of individuals that have far reaching consequences for us all going forward and similarly too willing to accept what they’re told. Would it not be better to have straight forward evidence led reports from the authorities in all such cases ( we effectively do in respect of coroners reports, but these are rarely publicised, perhaps it should be made a legal requirement that any news/media outlest running such articles has to publish any eventual enquiry report in a similar article?)

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