Boyracers' touching tribute to Leanne, 19

PUBLISHED: 11:42 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:46 10 June 2010

Leanne Pannell

Leanne Pannell

CAR-LOVING teenager Leanne Pannell had her final wish on Saturday when her boyracer' friends escorted her hearse for a last cruise on Exmouth seafront. Leanne, 19, who died of a rare lung disorder, was driven along Queen's Drive - followed by a procession of more than 40 boyracers, writes Robin Leeburn.

CAR-LOVING teenager Leanne Pannell had her final wish on Saturday when her 'boyracer' friends escorted her hearse for a last cruise on Exmouth seafront.

Leanne, 19, who died of a rare lung disorder, was driven along Queen's Drive - followed by a procession of more than 40 boyracers, writes Robin Leeburn.

The procession, which had started at Leanne's home in St John's Road, finally ended at Withycombe Parish Church, which was packed for her funeral on Saturday.

Leanne, wearing her favourite prom dress, was finally laid to rest at St John-in-the-Wilderness.

Brixington teenager Leanne - described as a "true inspiration" - died after years of battling a rare lung disorder.

Waking up aged 13 with a mystery illness, Leanne was eventually diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and given 18 months to live.

Six years later, after inspiring family, friends and many fellow sufferers, Leanne died at home on January 2.

Her mother Tracie said: "Leanne wanted this; she wanted to be buried in her prom dress, and wanted one final cruise at the beach. It went brilliantly. No-one played loud music. They just followed the hearse quietly - everyone respected Leanne."

The straight-A student and former gymnast loved to get behind the wheel of her smart black Honda Civic Sport.

Leanne appeared in the Journal in 2006 to defend young drivers' behaviour after a series of complaints about boy-racers.

Mum Tracie paid tribute to her friends, after Leanne's brother Curtis, 16, and boyfriend Chris Hopkins, 20, helped organise the cruise.

"All the lads and girls were out - they had all helped her. They never shunned her because of the illness, they all looked after her. I had members of the public at the funeral say they would never criticise the boyracers again after seeing their behaviour."

EDITOR'S NOTE: please write to the Journal with your memories of Leanne - or visit our tribute section on:

www.exmouthjournal.co.uk

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