Family pay tribute to 'kindest heart' of 18-year-old soldier who died alongside fiancé in crash

The family of Burntwood teenager Courtney Jennings who died in car crash in Wiltshire described her as having "the kindest heart".

Courtney Jennings, from Burntwood, who tragically died
Courtney Jennings, from Burntwood, who tragically died

The 18-year-old died along with her fiancé Jack Paolucci, 19, when their car veered off the road and hit a tree on the way to a Halloween party.

The pair were both serving in the British Army, Courtney with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) and Jack with the The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers based in Tidworth, Wiltshire.

Courtney's family paid tribute to the former Erasmus Darwen Academy pupil.

They said: "Courtney lost her life far too soon. No parent should ever find themselves in this situation, but through all our heartache we have the memories of our daughter that will forever keep our hearts bright.

"Courtney was 14 when she decided she was going to join the Army, and through her own aspiration and determination she succeeded and left home at 16 to join Harrogate Foundation College to achieve her dreams."

They added: "She made herself proud, and all around her as proud of her as they could be. She has the brightest smile and infectious laugh. Once she started you could not help joining in. She was selfless, with the kindest heart and was extremely close to her family. She always showed her love to everyone.

"Courtney was determined and sometimes stubborn, but always saw the bigger picture. When she met Jack she was the happiest that we’d ever seen her. Jack truly looked after her, and that was reassuring to us as parents."

Tragically Courtney had been excitedly messaging on the night of her death about the outfit she was wearing to the club.

They said: "Speaking to her on FaceTime on Friday she was beaming about them going out to a nightclub together to celebrate Halloween. Her costume took weeks to prepare.

“Unfortunately, she never made it and that breaks our hearts. We were really looking forward to her sending us pictures of the night. She sent us pictures before they left and she looked so beautiful. We will forever hold that in our thoughts. We cannot believe that we will never get to hear her voice or hug her again.

“It is absolutely tragic, and we will forever miss our angel.”

A spokesman for REME added: "The Commanding Officer and all members of the battalion send their sincere condolences to both families."

Al Snow's Wrestling Academy, Hednesford, posted a tribute to their former member Courtney on Facebook.

They said: "ASWA Midlands are saddened to hear about the passing of former student Courtney Jennings. Rest in Peace.

"Thoughts are with her family at this difficult time."

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