THE mum of a “lovely” and “incredibly popular” young Ilminster woman who died after her car hit a wall has thanked everyone for their support.

Jessica White, 21, who lived in High Street with her boyfriend of ten months, died from her injuries after the incident in Taunton last month.

Speaking to the News for the first time since the tragedy, her mum, Sharon Staple, said the family was still struggling to come to terms with Jessica’s death.

She said: “I knew she was popular, but I didn't know how much until after the event.

“So many people loved and adored her – she just had this amazing personality that whoever met her loved her.”

Sharon said she was exp-ecting Jessica, who worked as an events coordinator, to drive home on the night and became anxious when her daughter was not ans-wering her calls.

She said: “I remember a police officer answering the phone and my partner took me down to the scene.

“We went to the hospital, but we couldn’t see Jessica because she was having an operation.

“When they told me the bad news I couldn’t breathe – I was just semi-screaming in the relatives’ room.”

Animal lover Jessica, who previously studied at Somerset College, left behind Sharon, her father, Nick White, older brother Robert White, and younger sister, Alice Staple.

Sharon said: “It still doesn’t feel real. I expect her to walk through the door as if she’s been on holiday – it’s so hard and we’re devastated.”

Floral tributes from friends and family are still at the scene of the crash and more than 200 people attended Jessica’s funeral.

There was a minute’s silence before the start of Blue Park Rangers’ final football match of the season with players wearing black armbands.

Sharon said she has been overwhelmed with support from Holiday Inn, who provided the wake for free with other businesses and her friends.

She said: “I’d also like to thank the team of surgeons from Taunton and Bristol who worked so hard to save her, though unsuccessfully.

“We’ve been amazed by the support from everyone.”