Tributes to rugby ball death girl Leonie Nice in Basildon

Tributes have been paid to a 12-year-old girl who died after being hit by a rugby ball during a PE lesson at a school in Essex.

Leonie Nice was hit in the chest on Tuesday during the lesson at Woodlands Comprehensive School in Takely End, Basildon, Essex County Council said.

An ambulance arrived in minutes and she was taken to hospital where she died.

Head teacher Andy White paid tribute to the Year 7 pupil as a "promising, delightful and kind girl".

He said: "Leonie keeled over and appeared to go into a fit. Our trained first-aiders gave CPR at the scene and the ambulance arrived quickly.

"Leonie was taken by ambulance to Basildon Hospital where despite everyone's best efforts, Leonie was pronounced dead."

'Sad event'

She added: "The pupils and parents have been informed of this sad event and students who require support are being looked after by our own staff and specialist staff from Essex County Council's support team.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.

"Leonie was a promising, delightful and kind girl who will be greatly missed by all the staff and pupils of Woodlands School."

Gary Sanderson, spokesman for East of England Ambulance Service, said: "The ambulance crew arrived at the scene within one minute and found the girl in a critical condition.

"Following rapid treatment and stabilisation, she was taken to a waiting medical team at Basildon Hospital where sadly she died shortly after."

Essex Police said they were also called to the scene.

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