Tributes to tragic 15-year-old

THE grieving family of a 15-year-old who dreamt of practising as a lawyer last night paid tribute to the teenager after she died of pneumonia.

Will Clarke

THE grieving family of a 15-year-old who dreamt of practising as a lawyer last night paid tribute to the teenager after she died of pneumonia.

Zoe Palmer, of Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, died at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury on January 3 after catching pneumonia before Christmas.

She had struggled with the rare and debilitating condition spinal muscular atrophy.

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Her devastated parents Edwin and Juliet Palmer said they would remember their teenage daughter as a cheerful and selfless person who always put others before herself despite the condition, which limited her to a wheel chair.

They also expressed their gratitude to neighbours and friends in Thurston who have inundated the family with messages of support.

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Mr Palmer said: “I didn't realise how popular she was. The whole village is in mourning.

“She was an inspiration to me. I never heard her saying a cross word about anybody in her whole life - she was just so caring and had a heart of gold.

“She had lots of her own troubles and took on everybody else's as well. She dealt with it so well and I feel lost without her.”

Mrs Palmer said: “I will remember her for her smile and her kindness - she was always smiling. And it is good to hear form friends who she helped with their problems.”

Grandparents Rita and Charlie Murkin ,also of Thurston, said: “She used to come round everyday. We live just over the way so this is like a second home to her.

“She wanted to be a doctor but it was impossible because of her condition so she decided she wanted to be a family lawyer - she always thought of other people before herself.”

A special assembly was held at Thurston Community College on Tuesday to remember Zoe.

Helen Wilson, college principal, said: “Zoe was an inspiration to us all. She showed amazing courage and determination throughout her time at the College and she will be sadly missed by everyone whose lives she touched.”

Teaching assistants at the college, who worked closely with Zoe, said: “Our memories of Zoe Palmer were that at first we thought she'd be a quiet and shy teenager - boy were we wrong.

“Very soon, this quiet, shy Zoe morphed into a bright, confident young lady who took the college by storm.

“Sadly Zoe's dreams have been cut short, but our memories of her will last and last. We all feel privileged to have known her.”

A service of thanksgiving will take place on January 16 at St Peter's Church in Thurston at 12.30pm.

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