Girl, 12, dies after being hit by ball at Basildon school


A 12-year-old girl has died after being hit by a rugby ball during a PE lesson at a school today.

Leonie Nice was catching the ball during a lesson at Woodlands Comprehensive School in Takely End, Basildon, Essex, when she was hit in the chest and fell over, appearing to have a fit, Essex County Council said.

Emergency services were called after the incident, just before noon today, and Leonie was taken to Basildon Hospital but died shortly after.

Gary Sanderson, spokesman for East of England Ambulance Service, said: "First and foremost our thoughts are firmly with the girl's family at this tragic time.

"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 an awaiting medical team at Basildon Hospital where sadly she died shortly after."

Essex Police said they were also called to the scene.

Andy White, headteacher at Woodlands, paid tribute to Year 7 pupil Leonie as a "promising, delightful and kind girl".

He said: "Leonie Nice, a year 7 pupil, was catching a rugby ball in a PE lesson when she was hit in the chest by the ball.

"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.

"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."

Tributes were also left to Leonie on Twitter.

One, from ShannonHernaman said: "RIP Leonie-Jo Nice; a beautiful girl, resting with the angels - heaven only takes the best; we all love you; sleep tight angel."

Another, from chlomurph-x read: "R.i.p to our beautiful friend leonie-Jo nice,a stunning girl that was only young, hopes to her family, we all love you, our gorgeous angel."