Terminally ill Harry Potter superfan, 78, designs her own wizard-themed funeral down to a character-adorned coffin and mourners on broomsticks
- Veronica Leaning, 78, has spent months planning her own magical send off
- The Harry Potter fan will be buried in a coffin decorated with the colours off all four houses from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
- Ms Leaning who has terminal cancer has spent years following the JK Rowling book series, enjoying films, theatre productions and meeting the characters
A Harry Potter superfan suffering from terminal cancer has organised her own funeral – complete with a Hogwarts coffin and an order for friends and family to dress as witches and wizards.
Veronica Leaning, 78, has lung and bone cancer and has been told she has just months left to live.
To ensure she gets the magical send off she wants, Ms Leaning has organised it herself.
Her Harry Potter coffin has been decorated with the colours of each Hogwarts’ houses, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.
The pensioner, who has official signed copies of all seven Harry Potter books, every DVD, cast autographs and dozens of boxes of memorabilia including soft toys, ornaments and drawings, has also asked mourners to don wizards hats, Hogwarts scarves and broomsticks.
Veronica Leaning, 78 from Grimsby reads one of her many Harry Potter books which she says has helped get her through her terminal cancer
Ms Leaning has followed Harry Potter for more than a decade and has read all of the books by JK Rowling multiple times
Veronica has been a huge fan of the fantasy series for years and is the proud owner of handwritten letters from JK Rowling, personally inviting her to three premiers, which she attended with her late husband, Tony, where they met the author herself and several stars of the films including Warwick Davis.
The superfan, from Grimsby, Lincs, has watched the films and read the books dozens of times and hopes to leave some Harry Potter memorabilia to each beloved member of her enormous family – including her six children, 15 grandchildren and soon-to-be 30 great-grandchildren.
Veronica Leaning, 78 from Grimsby with her World Premier Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 tickets which she attended in London
Veronica Leaning, 78 from Grimsby with her family (L-R) Stepson, Terry Leaning, 52, Daughter, Sue Ireland, 55 and Son-in-law Philip Ireland 49 at Veronicas bedside
A letter from author J K Rowling to Veronica Leaning who has been helped through her cancer by the characters in JK Rowling’s books
The family of Ms Leaning will attend her funeral in wizard and witch attire as they celebrate her life
In 2015 Ms Leaning’s favourite author JK Rowling wrote to her to thank her for being a fan
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Speaking of her fascination with Harry Potter, Veronica said: ‘It’s been as good as any medicine really, reading the books, looking forward to seeing the films and collecting all of the memorabilia.
‘It takes my mind off things and gives me something to focus on.
‘I have six children, 15 grandchildren and nearly 30 great grandchildren, with one on the way. There’s enough for them all to have a little something which is really important to me.
‘I’ve got boxes and boxes of the stuff in my house.
‘My favourite characters are Professor Snape and Dobby. Professor Snape seems bad all the way through and then comes good at the end. And Dobby, well, I just love him.’
Veronica Leaning at the 2008 premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in London
Ms Leaning has been invited to world premiers of Harry Potter films after writing to JK Rowling
Terry Leaning, 52 from Grimsby has created a Harry Potter coffin for his stepmother wqho has just months to live
Veronica Leaning at the 2008 premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with Jason Isaacs who played Lucius Malfoy in the film
Ms Leaning’s room is filled with Harry Potter memorabilia including a teddy of Dobby the house elf
Ms Leaning has not got long to live so she has been planning her funeral to be just the way she wants it
A signed letter from Emma Watson aged 15 at the time of writing to Veronica Leaning
Veronica wants to make her funeral a celebration and has even asks guests to dress as witches and wizards or sport Hogwarts attire for her final send-off.
She will be laid to rest in a red, yellow, green and blue coffin adorned with stickers of her favourite Harry Potter characters, which was decorated by her stepson Terry and is currently being kept in her spare room.
Veronica added: ‘We got it from the undertakers because we wanted to decorate it but they wouldn’t take it back because they aren’t able to store them so it’s been in my spare room ever since.
‘We even wrote to Warner Bros. to check that it would all be okay and my stepson painted it and stuck the stickers on for me.
‘I just want my funeral to be a celebration of the things I love.’
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