By Hayley Pugh
A terminally-ill Harry Potter superfan has organised her own themed funeral – complete with a bespoke character adorned coffin and mourners dressed as witches and wizards.
Veronica Leaning, 78, who is suffering from terminal lung and bone cancer, has been told she has just months left to live and has decided to organise a fun themed funeral, with a Harry Potter coffin representing the colours of each Hogwarts house, 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 has been a huge fan of the literary 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.
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 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.”