Friends and family remember caring Watton teenager at funeral

She was described as a 'free spirit' and a party girl who always had a smile on her face.

And yesterday, nearly 200 friends and family remembered 17-year-old Annabel Laws, of Watton, at her funeral.

The teenager, of Akrotiri Square, died in the early hours of December 17, in Sporle, near Swaffham, after the car she was a passenger in crashed. Before the collision happened she had been to McDonald's restaurant, near Swaffham, with friends.

Former and current pupils of Wayland Community High School, Annabel's old school, attended the emotional service at St George's Church, in Saham Toney, near Watton.

Arriving in a black hearse, her coffin was surrounded by colourful flowers and included yellow flowers which spelled out the word Annie - a name used by her friends and family.

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At the top of the church aisle was a simple black and white picture of Annabel and two heart balloons - one pink and one cream.

The coffin, which was decorated with simple flower drawings, was carried up the aisle to one of her favourite pop songs.

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Starting the service, the Rev Barbara Winner, of Watton Methodist Church, said: 'We are here to celebrate all the things which made her such a unique and special person.'

Annabel's grandmother, Queenie Baldwin, chose the first hymn, The Old Rugged Cross, and her brother Jonathan Laws paid an emotional tribute to his younger sister.

He said: 'Annabel will always be known for having a smile of her face. She borrowed everything from everyone whether it was clothes or my television remote.

'She was always happy and she put a smile on everybody's face. She made some of us who we are today and we will never forget that. No-one can ever replace such a wonderful sister. She lived life to the full.'

Mrs Winner added: 'Her life has been far too short; it seems all too wrong that we are here today saying goodbye to her. Time and again I heard her described as a free spirit - she didn't stick to protocol. Annabel was full of life and she was a real party girl.

'She loved music and dancing and would even make cleaning up fun at her nan's by dancing and singing. Equally she liked to stay in her pyjamas.

'Annabel was a very caring person. If someone was upset she would want to know why and would do her best to cheer them up.'

The congregation also heard how she was artistic, had a great sense of humour and loved spending time with her family and friends.

Mrs Winner said Annabel would have been pleased to know that some of her organs were going to used in transplant operations.

The 17-year-old, who had completed a year-long art and design diploma at Norwich's City College last year, wanted to become a tattooist and work with abused children.

She had also been successful in getting on to an eight-month apprenticeship in retail at Knit Wits textile shop, in Dereham, which she was due to start at the start of this year.

After the crash, a Facebook page was created in memory of Annabel, which has so far been joined by just over 1,000 people.

An inquest into her death was opened and adjourned in Norwich on December 21.

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