THE friends of a “bubbly and smiley” schoolgirl who died of meningitis started training for a run in her honour on Saturday.

Talented and popular Connie Moore, who attended Bournemouth School for Girls, passed away in January aged 16.

One of her closest friends, 15-year-old Lyndon Duley, decided to do something positive in her memory and has organised a team of 28 runners to participate in the London Bupa 10000 run on May 25.

Lyndon said the group have already raised more than £9,000 for the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) and has been moved by the support received.

“The fact we can change lives and potentially save others is motivating,” he added.

“It has been hard. I don’t know how I could have got through this without friends and family.”

The runners, all adorning their purple MRF tops, set off from Durley Chine at lunchtime and ran to Southbourne and back again.

Jazmin Gahan, 15, who went to school with Connie, said she misses her friend and hopes they can raise more awareness of the killer disease.

“It’s really nice to see everyone out supporting Connie. We have all been relying on each other,” she added.

“She was amazing in every aspect. If you were ever sad you could speak to Connie. Your day would be lightened immediately.”

Another classmate, Annie Willingham, 15, said: “She was the bubbliest character and always smiling.”

Nicola McClure, regional ambassador for MRF, also attended the training session and said she was delighted with the amount of money being raised.

She added: “We are incredibly proud of Connie’s friends and family. The money will go a long way to help others with meningitis and septicaemia.”

To sponsor Team Connie please visit the website: /remember/99702/connie-moore