Hannah killed just as she was 'flourishing into a woman'

"Precious and fragile" were words used by friends and family to describe the intelligent teenager whose life was squeezed out of her just as she was "flourishing into a woman", aged only 17.

Hannah Foster, who was known for her beaming smile and caring nature, was tipped to be a great future academic success having already excelled at her GCSEs with 11 A* grades.



With a wide range of interests and abilities, Hannah had a full spectrum of choices ahead of her: she was praised at school and college for her success in sciences and humanities but her heart was set on studying medicine at university.



Hannah wanted to be like her mother Hilary, a cardiac nurse, and to prove to her parents that she had what it took to become a doctor.



And in memory of her aspirations to help others, Hannah's parents set up a memorial fund, with proceeds going to the volunteer emergency doctor service Basics (British Association for Immediate Care).



Mrs Foster said: "Hannah was always a very happy person. One of those sort of children with a ready smile.



"You know that expression people say about flourishing into a young woman, that was what we were witnessing.



"She was just the sort of girl that you just always felt proud of."



Mr Foster added: "We as a family are devastated by the loss of Hannah.



"Hannah was a warm, kind-hearted 17-year-old girl who could always see good in others."





Mr Foster added: "She was always very protective, that's the one thing that struck me: how protective she was to her younger sister.



"If ever I was telling Sarah off, she'd always try to pacify me or take the blame."



Intelligent but in no way a boffin, Hannah was a normal teenager who enjoyed going to the pub with her friends, although she was not one for drinking to excess, and loved rock music - her favourite band was the Red Hot Chili Peppers.



In her first year at Barton Peveril College, in Eastleigh, Hannah gained five AS qualifications: four A grades in geology, chemistry, biology and history, and one B grade in fine art.



At the time of her death, she had gone on to study A-levels in the four subjects she had got an A in.



Vice principal Pat Mullins said: "She was one of the most able students in her year group.



"She wanted to be a doctor because she felt it would be a career which would combine her passion for science with her desire to care for others.



"She believed it would provide her with the opportunity for continuous learning and involve her in the welfare of the community.



"She had completed a work placement at Southampton General Hospital the previous summer which had confirmed her aspiration and we believe she would have made an inspirational doctor."



Mrs Mullins said that a memorial tree - "Hannah's Tree" - had been planted at the college.



She added: "As well as being an outstanding student academically, the staff at Barton Peveril remember her as lively, enthusiastic, full of fun but with a sensitive and thoughtful approach to life.



"She was musical, she played the flute, but she also enjoyed working with others in different ways and was completing her Duke of Edinburgh award.



"She was simply loved by her friends and this was obvious at the memorial services held at the college."



Classmate Hannah McGranaghan said she was a very popular girl.



She said: "Hannah was quiet, caring and had many friends. She was always happy to help and was rarely seen around college without a smile on her face.



"This tragedy shocked everyone. Her parents and Barton Peveril College have done, and are still doing, a lot in her memory, showing just how much she meant to the people that knew her.



"Thanks to them, she will never be forgotten."



Another friend, Leanne Murdoch, said in the months after her death that Hannah impressed fellow pupils with her intelligence but was always modest.



She said: "Of all the people in this world, Hannah deserved it least. She was so precious and fragile and would never have hurt a fly.



"If she ever thought you were having a bad day, she would try to brighten you up."



Leanne said that Hannah believed in peace and, ahead of her time, was very aware of environmental issues.



She said: "Hannah was very plucky and determined and was mentally very tough and solid - there's no way she would have left this world without a fight.



"It's so sad because she had everything planned. Her future was all laid out before her and now it's been taken away.



"Hannah always said she wanted to follow in her mum's footsteps, who was a nurse, but get the qualifications to be a doctor. She was so intelligent. I never knew anyone who loved schoolwork so much."



More than 300 people turned out for Hannah's funeral which was held at her community church, Highfield Church, just around the corner from her home in Grosvenor Road, Southampton.



Hannah's former history teacher Anne Richardson paid tribute to her, saying: "She was possessed of an extraordinary intellect."



And her former English teacher Clive Pitts, from Cantell School in Bassett, said: "She was just a wonderful young lady.



"I can't begin to make sense of Hannah's tragedy but what I do know is that I will remember her forever and I am grateful to have been her English teacher."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat