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About Hannah

Hannah Katie King

by Ben King 19th December 2007 

This time last week, the idea of doing what I am about to do seemed impossible.

But when I started to write, the words came easier and easier as I’m sure you’ll all agree there is just so much to say about my little sister. Indeed the hardest part turned out to be, not what to say about Hannah but how to say it all in such a short time.

I’d like to start then with Hannah’s own description of herself. For if anyone could describe her better than her family and friends it’d be Hannah herself. Her facebook profile reads “I am a tartan loving pirate just wanting to sail the seven seas”. And for those who knew Hannah best, you’ll remember how true that was. But for me her open pirate enthusiasm simply highlights Hannah’s most distinctive characteristic. She was never afraid to be herself, and we loved her for it.

In a letter of condolence we received recently, a close friend recalls one of the best examples this individualism. It said “my fondest memories of Hannah are turning up to collect her for nursery school, usually to find her in one fancy dress costume or another. Gilly would sometimes offer me hint as to what she was dressed as that day, or on other occasions when unsure, she would just shrug her shoulders and raise her eyebrows.” And as Hannah grew up she continued to dress up as I am sure many will remember from her pirate themed sixteenth Birthday.

Since Hannah’s sudden and tragic death one of the most comforting things for our family has been the online facebook group set up in her honour. We are eternally grateful to the hundreds people who have joined the group and who have written such wonderful comments.

One of my favourites, which seems to capture the way so many people felt about her, reads:
“Hannah, I will always remember you for the way that you were able to make me smile whatever the situation…When I was with you I was always happy. To me you were the best person in the world, but you were taken away before your time. You were destined for greatness and although you are now gone from our world I know you will be watching over all of us. You will inspire all of us to be great and I will hold you in my heart and love you forever. I will always remember you and will always love you from the person you were when we met all those years ago, to the happy, intelligent person that you grew to be.”

Inspirational and always happy seemed to be the most popular comments about Hannah. I’m sure at school and on the weekends Hannah was never without a smile. However I am sure that no one who commented on her perpetual good mood ever saw Hannah before 8:00 am on a Monday morning. But she was undoubtedly inspirational in her loyalty and love to all those around her and unfailing commitment to causes she believed in. Indeed for me one of Hannah’s most attractive features was how she was passionate about so many things, from music to recycling to medicine and even Formula 1 racing, Hannah loved them all.

But not only was she passionate, she was talented. A singer, guitarist, dancer, scholar; the list goes on. And on our last lunch out together I remember her saying how grateful she was to her school and my parents for giving the opportunities and loving environment for her to flourish in. But these talents were not simply the product of a good education and natural ability, Hannah worked extremely hard in every area of her life. Be it academic, musical or just the effort she put in to make those around her smile. Where this hard work and care for others most showed itself was in her burning ambition to be a doctor.

A friend of hers who is due to start medical school next year wrote recently “I have never met anyone who wanted to be a doctor as much as me, but you certainly did and were so prepared and excited for it. I will think of you every step of the way through medical school. It was an honour to have met such a wonderful person who would have made the most amazing doctor”. And as it turned out Hannah’s last act became one of healing, for in giving up her organs she saved the lives of up to six other people. Not bad for a days work by any doctors standards.

When people ask me “how will I remember Hannah”, I will always remember her on the touch line of almost every rugby game I ever played. Standing in her large blue coat, no matter what the weather was like. I couldn’t believe how consistent her attendance was when she didn’t even know the rules. Although some people suggested she may have been there more for the other young men playing, rather than just to support her big brother the fact she was always there meant the world to me.

When people ask where do I picture Hannah now, I have to return to her facebook description. If the world is at all fair Hannah will be sailing the seas in heaven, preferably in a tartan coloured pirate ship and probably making sure James is behaving himself and has had a bath.

I’d like to finish with another comment from the facebook group written by Hannah’s uncle

Are there more beautiful girls than Hannah? Probably, but I have not seen any.
Are there more charming people than Hannah? Possibly, but I have not met any.
Is there a greater loss than Hannah? Possibly, but I cannot imagine any.

So rest in peace Hannah Katie King, with our love; and our thanks for every precious moment we shared.