TRIBUTES have been paid to a former York school girl who has lost her brave battle against cancer.

Anna Swabey, 25, passed away this morning, nearly two years after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The former York College and Mount School pupil, who blogged about her treatment and experiences, was due to marry her fiancé Andy Bell tomorrow but her condition deteriorated sharply last month.

A family member wrote on her Facebook page today: "Anna passed away peacefully in the early hours of this morning. I cannot put into words the heartbreak we all feel, but amongst our sadness, we are so proud of her courage, her spirit and the determination she showed throughout her illness. If ever there was a person to show us how to live, it's Anna Louise Swabey, our beautiful, brave girl."

The Mount School and York College have paid tribute to Anna as a much-loved, bright, lively and likeable student.

Anna, who had moved to be with her family in County Durham, was 23 when she was told she had a brain tumour but she said she was determined to live her life to the full.

Initially told she may have as little as three months to live, Anna was given hope by neurosurgeon Kevin O’Neill, who leads the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Imperial College in London.

She told how she left her first consultation with him in “tears of happiness” not because he had changed her diagnosis but because they would fight “Trev”, as she dubbed the growth in her brain.

Soon after her diagnosis, she started the blog Inside My Head, and met her fiancé Andy, who knew about her condition from the beginning. The couple were due to marry tomorrow.

However, a biopsy in August showed the tumour had progressed to Grade 4 and Anna became seriously ill.

Wendy Fulcher, founder Brain Tumour Research Campaign, said: "Anna underwent surgery followed by the gruelling regimen of radiotherapy and chemotherapy which, inevitably, took its toll. She suffered from the excruciating tiredness, dreadful sickness and hair loss known all too well to other cancer patients and those who care for them. As her enviable long blond tresses fell out, she acquired a couple of wigs and admitted she would much rather live without hair for the rest of her life than give in to the tumour.

"Bright, vivacious, kind, and beautiful, Anna was one of those to whom others are naturally drawn. She had a great sense of fun and a marvellous joie de vivre. After graduating with a first class degree in languages and European studies, she had plans to learn Mandarin and there is no doubt she had the brightest of futures ahead.

"To Andy and her family, Anna was still 'Anna' and not “'Anna with a brain tumour'. This was important to her although she never shied away from reality, giving her time selflessly through interviews to help raise awareness of the disease and the appalling lack of funding to improve outcomes for patients. She proved herself to be a great fundraiser too, showing a gritty determination as she set herself the target of raising £100,000 for the Brain Tumour Research Campaign in order to help Kevin and his team at Imperial continue their pioneering work.

"Anna was proud to stand alongside the national charity Brain Tumour Research, telling MPs of her experience and helping to shape the Petitions Committee report Funding for research into brain tumours.

"Another bright light has gone out. Another young person has been taken by a brain tumour, this most cruel and crippling of cancers which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other … just one per cent of the national spend has been allocated to this devastating disease.

"Anna loved the fact that she could make a difference. She certainly did that and I am so proud that I had the opportunity to know her."

A spokesperson for York College said Anna and her family were well known to the College.

They said:"Everyone is deeply saddened by this tragic news.  Anna left York College in 2009 having studied A Levels, she was a very lively and likeable character.  Over the last two years the York College community was involved in her high profile and very successful Brain Tumour Research campaign. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Anna’s family and friends at this very sad time.  The College was very fortunate to have known such an able and talented young woman."

Adrienne Richmond, principal of The Mount School, said: "Anna made a real impact during her time at The Mount, and is remembered with respect and great fondness.  She was an extremely bright girl; sparky, sporty, fun-loving and outgoing.  She had a cheerful nature and was a very helpful and capable girl.  She was much-loved and continues to live on in our memories. 

"Anna approached her condition with great bravery.  I am aware that in a short time she personally raised an incredible amount of money for brain tumour research.  Through her blog, she has obviously inspired other sufferers and their families, using her condition to raise awareness in a way that indicated her own inner strength.  

"Anna’s family is also fondly remembered at The Mount and, while we extend our sincere condolences for their loss, we remain thankful for her life and the light she brought to The Mount."