Family’s wait to find how Jack died goes on

AFRICA TRAGEDY ... Jack Burden died on a school trip to Tanzania.
AFRICA TRAGEDY ... Jack Burden died on a school trip to Tanzania.

THE family of a teenager who died on a school trip to Africa are still waiting to find out why he died.

Jack Burden, 18, died as he and fellow pupils from Harton Technology College, South Shields, were on a mission to help others in Tanzania, East Africa.

He died of a severe allergic reaction last Tuesday, but it is still not known what caused his death.

It has been confirmed that South Tyneside’s coroner, Terence Carney, has opened an investigation into Jack’s death.

His body has now been released to his family, but the results from a series of tests are still awaited.

A spokesman for the coroner said: “A post-mortem examination has been carried out but a cause of death has still not been determined.

“It is not yet known whether or not the coroner will hold an inquest.”

Jack was part of a team of 10 teenagers, two college staff and one leader who were trekking in the Uluguru region of southern Tanzania and working on a charity project, when the tragedy happened.

The groups were on the 19th day of a 28-day expedition when Jack suffered an allergic reaction.

Despite receiving immediate first aid and treatment he could not be resuscitated.

His school friends and teachers were brought home early from the trip on Friday, and Jack’s body 
has since been returned to the country.

Jack lived in Midhurst Avenue, Harton, South Shields, with his parents Steven and Alison Burden and 16-year-old sister Sarah.

Mrs Burden is headteacher of Marine Park Primary School, South Shields.

Jack had intended to study English literature and education at Liverpool Hope University from September.

A touching online video shows the last days of Jack’s life as he worked with others on the trip, organised by expedition company True Adventure, to build sports facilities at a school.

The video, named Tanzania 2014, has been posted on YouTube by Marnie Al-Saraf.

She shared her video on Facebook, saying: “In honour of Jack Burden.

“No amount of clips can ever portray the amazing times we had together, but here are a few clips I managed to shoot.”

The poignant four-minute video shows Jack and his classmates spending time with young children in Tanzania and the work they were doing to better people’s lives.

To watch the video, go to and search for ‘Tanzania 2014’.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki