Hopton family's tribute to teenager

PUBLISHED: 17:47 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:31 03 July 2010

Hopton girl Emily Knipe

Hopton girl Emily Knipe

A LOVING, caring girl who always put others before herself and a bright smile that people will never forget - these were just some of the moving tributes paid to schoolgirl Emily Knipe who was tragically killed in a car crash at the weekend.

A LOVING, caring girl who always put others before herself and a bright smile that people will never forget - these were just some of the moving tributes paid to schoolgirl Emily Knipe who was tragically killed in a car crash at the weekend.

The 15-year-old “sporty, popular” teenager was fatally injured after the Vauxhall Corsa van in which she was a passenger left Beccles Road, at Fritton, and struck a tree on Sunday morning.

Emily, a Year 11 pupil at Oriel Specialist Maths and Computing College, Gorleston, was studying for her GCSEs and had dreams of pursuing careers in the Army and as a fitness instructor.

Her devastated mother Susan Knipe, of Turin Way, Hopton, said warm tributes paid by Emily's friends had been a comfort to her and her son Michael, aged 20, and partner Terry Wink.

A page created on the condolence website had received over 1,000 visitors by Wednesday evening - many of whom had left moving messages.

One read: “I can't believe you're gone, the thought of never seeing that smile of yours again breaks my heart,” while another read “taken far too early, it is not fair”.

Mystery still surrounds the circumstances leading up to the crash which happened at about 8.30am, a time when Mrs Knipe believed her daughter was in Hopton doing her paper round.

Mrs Knipe, who has previously gone through the trauma of losing a six-year-old son Daniel to a brain abscess, said: “Everyone knew Emily Knipe. She was that type of person and had lots of friends.”

Referring affectionately to her daughter as a “loveable rugrat” Mrs Knipe said Emily was a caring, loving daughter who enjoyed making people laugh and had the ultimate dream of taking part in the Olympics.

A keen sportswoman, Emily had a job at BWell fitness in Gorleston.

In the past she had played rugby at junior county level but more recently switched her attention to football and played for the Bohemians in Gorleston.

Mrs Knipe, who works at a Corton holiday park, said Emily had a determined personality and recalled how she went on a school trip to Kingswood, near Bristol, earlier this year, despite being on crutches with a torn ligament in her leg.

“We would tell to her rest but she would be up and about,” said Mrs Knipe.

Mr Wink described Emily as a lively, outgoing, brave and independent girl.

“She was such a lovely girl and she loved her mum and brother,” he said.

Police are still trying to piece together the circumstances in which Emily and a 14-year-old girlfriend, who also had a paper round in the village, were being driven towards Belton by a 19-year-old male friend, who did mobile paper deliveries for the same shop, McColls.

Naomi Palmer, deputy headteacher at Oriel, said: “Emily was much-loved both by staff and students due to her determination to succeed and her positive, cheery demeanour.

“She was a prefect at the school and had joined the Student Council to help to support her fellow classmates. It is a tragedy that such a young, vibrant, hopeful young lady is no longer with us.

“We cannot express how devastated the staff and students are to receive such dreadful news and our thoughts are with Emily's family and friends at this traumatic time.

“We will, of course, be doing everything we can to support those affected by her death.”

McColls general manager Nick Lloyd said: “Our thoughts are concerned with Emily's family and the people she worked with.

“She was an extremely well-liked person and very reliable and will be greatly missed by the whole team.”

The male driver suffered serious head and internal injuries and remains in a critical condition in the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston.

The 14-year-old passenger in the Vauxhall Corsa van, also from Hopton, suffered only minor injuries in the crash which happened close to the entrance of Cherry Lane garden centre.

One theory being explored is that the icy road surface may have been a factor in the accident.

Police would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident on the A143 at Fritton on Sunday at about 8.30am. Contact PC Steve Tyrrell, at Acle Road Policing on 0845 456 4567 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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