A mother has paid an emotional tribute to her 'Doctor Dolittle' daughter, who has died at the age of 17.

%image(14649735, type="article-full", alt="Grace Clare was described by her mum as "awesome". Picture: Kate Bates")

Kate Bates described Grace Clare as "awesome and passionate", and told how animals used to flock to the popular Diss Sixth Form sciences student.

Grace Clare was found dead at home in Banham on April 6.

Her mother said she was a beautiful and fiercely independent young woman with a natural affinity to animals. "She absolutely loved her cats and at the zoo, animals would just flock to her - it was weird."

Mrs Bates added: "She was a nature girl and when she was little and we couldn't find her, I would know to look up towards the sky and she would be in the trees."

Mrs Bates added Grace was deeply loyal and caring towards her friends and family. She said: "She was always there for her mates and she took on board their troubles."

"Everybody loved Grace. She will always be amazing Grace. She will be forever loved, celebrated and laughed with."

At Grace's funeral, which over 200 people attended, Mrs Bates asked for donations to fund cup of teas for students at Diss Sixth Form.

"Grace was furious she had to pay 60p for a cuppa." She added. "And I wanted to raise money for something that was close to Grace's heart at the time."

"She was just such a passionate young woman and she could be outspoken but was always very funny. She was wonderfully sarcastic."

At an inquest held at Norfolk Coroners Court on November 4, area coroner Yvonne Blake said: "I am truly and deeply sorry. I have two daughters and I couldn't even begin to imagine one of them getting hurt."

The court heard Grace had struggled with mental health problems since an early age and first saw a counsellor at the age of six. Grace took a daily anti-depressant and had sought help from her GP, the inquest heard.

Ms Blake said: "She was high achieving and a perfectionist. The jump from GCSE to A-level was something Grace struggled with as she put pressure on herself and had always done well."

Closing the inquest, Ms Blake gave the conclusion of suicide and the medical cause of death was hanging.

The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123.