AN appeal to help with funeral costs and a memorial for a West Somerset teenager who died in a car crash on the A39 near Minehead has raised nearly £4,000 in just three days.
Annaleah Grace Kingdon, aged 16, who was known as Annie, died at the scene of the accident near the Porlock Road junction on Wednesday, January 31.
Her sister Becky, from Minehead, launched an online fund-raising appeal and said: “Annie was the brightest of stars and was the life and soul of our lives.
“Anyone who got the chance to have her in their life are so blessed.
“Annie had so much more life and love to give, but got taken away from us so cruelly.
“She was the most kindest, caring, loving, and loyal and supportive person and anyone who knew her just loved her.
“As we now navigate our way through life, the family would like to raise money to give Annie the best send off we possibly can and one that she deserves.
“As we know, funerals are not cheap and any small donation would be greatly appreciated.”
Becky said Annie was a much-loved member of the Porlock community where she lived and it was hoped a permanent memorial could be funded for anybody in the village to remember her by.
She said: “We are unsure what that would be but we are thinking either like a bench or a tree etc.
“On the behalf of the Kingdon family, I would like to take the chance to thank everyone for their support and kind words at this very difficult time, and we send love to you all.”
Paramedics and other emergency services personnel were called to the crash scene at about 7 pm and battled to save Annie’s life but were unsuccessful.
Annie was the daughter of Stephen Kingdon and the Rev Chloe Jones, a Methodist minister for churches in Minehead and Porlock.
The couple are former music directors of St George’s Church, Dunster, and Mr Kingdon is the organist in St Dubricius Church, Porlock.
She previously lived in Watchet and was a former student in the West Somerset Community College, with close family living in Minehead, Porlock, Wheddon Cross, and Timberscombe.
Annie had been a passenger in the car, and the three other occupants, men aged 18, 19, and 45 were arrested afterwards on charges of causing death by dangerous driving.
The two teenagers were additionally arrested on suspicion of driving a vehicle while unfit through drugs.
The 19-year-old man was later released without charge, while the 18-year-old and 45-year-old were both released under investigation.
Annie’s family issued a tribute to their ‘shining star’ via police this week while other tributes and condolences poured in on social media.
The family statement read: “Words cannot measure the devastation that we feel at the passing of our beautiful daughter and sister, Annaleah Grace (Annie).
“She embodied the world of everyone she knew with her infectious smile and her confidence to embrace life without a filter.
“Annie was kind, loving, loyal, and caring and she made all of our lives so much brighter.
“Annie was loved by anyone who knew her, and she is enormously missed by us all already.
“We, her family, want to express our thanks to so many people for the outpouring of love and support which is embracing and comforting us all during this terrible time.
“Rest in peace our shining star, we will love and miss you forever.”
Community college principal Zoe Stucki said: “Staff at the college have collectively extended our sincere condolences to Annie’s family.
“Staff and students at the college are deeply saddened by the events that occurred last week.
“Staff and students have been offered support from our pastoral team and our trained counsellors.”
Avon and Somerset Police have appealed for anybody with dashcam footage or any information which could help their investigation into the crash.
A spokesperson said they should call 101 and quote reference 5224027108.