Inspiration behind Heavitree’s ‘snake’ of stones sadly passes away

A young woman who inspired a ‘snake’ of painted stones to be laid down in a popular Exeter park has sadly died at the age of 26.

Annie Pyne had the rare degenerative Niemann-Pick disease. Two years ago, more than 260 colourful painted stones were placed in Heavitree Pleasure Ground to celebrate Annie’s 25th Birthday, a milestone she was never expected to reach when she was originally diagnosed with the disease at the age of 10.

However at the weekend, Kim, who created the Annie’s Stones Facebook Page, which has over 600 members, posted: “It is with great sadness to announce that Annie Pyne passed away peacefully last week, with her devoted parents at her side.

“Anyone who knew Annie would know how happy and loveable she was. Annie was adored by many and she will be missed by so many people.

“Annie’s Stones was created for Annie to see how far her stones travelled…and she has had pleasure seeing them travel to lots of different parts of the world, which has been amazing. Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen,” she added.

Niemann-Pick also posted a tribute to Annie Pyne on their Facebook page. They said: “Annie has been a very special part of our community for many years, brightening our lives with her wide and beautiful smile, enthusiasm and excitement for life, and determination to enjoy and create wonderful memories despite living with NPC.

“We feel blessed to have known Annie and send our heartfelt sympathies to all those who knew and loved Annie, especially her devoted family and many close friends.  Annie touched many hearts and will be greatly missed.”

Annie was one of only 140 known people in the country to have Niemann-Pick disease, and it is estimated there are just 2,000 families affected worldwide.”

The ‘snake’ of stones in Heavitree brought much pleasure to Annie, whose face lit up when she visited the park back in 2020 to see all the beautiful stones which have been laid out to mark her birthday.

The stones not only brought joy to Annie and those who were involved in painting, hiding and finding the stones, it is also raising awareness of the rare degenerative disease.

Annie and family

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