Funeral of campaigning mother Sylvia Lancaster held near Rochdale

Mourners have gathered for the funeral of campaigning mother Sylvia Lancaster.

Sylvia, who worked to fight prejudice and intolerance for nearly 15 years after she lost her daughter Sophie Lancaster in a brutal attack, died in April 2022 after a short illness.

Her passing came just one week after she learned one of her daughter's killers was set to be released from prison.

Sophie Lancaster, who was 21, had been kicked to death because of the way she dressed in a park in Bacup in 2007.

Sylvia set up the The Sophie Lancaster Foundation soon after to fight prejudice and intolerance.

Sylvia Lancaster Credit: PA

She was awarded an OBE in 2014, in recognition of her work for ‘community cohesion - especially in reduction of hate crime’ and received honorary doctorates from the University of Bolton and the University of Surrey.

A service commemorating Sylvia's life was held at The Ashcroft in Market Street in Whitworth before she was buried at Whitworth cemetery beside Sophie.

Mourners were encouraged to wear pink for the occasion, as it was Sylvia's favourite colour.

Sylvia's son, Adam, issued a statement on Twitter ahead of the service. He wrote: "It has been a tough couple of weeks since we lost my Mum, thank you for all your support.

"We know how much Sylvia meant to other people too."

Julie Hesmondhalgh joined mourners at the funeral Credit: Lancashire Live

Among those to pay tribute to Sylvia was Coronation Street actress, Julie Hesmondalgh, who is a patron of the foundation and who played Sylvia on stage.

Writing on Twitter, she said: "It was a privilege to know and work alongside Sylvia over many years.

"She was a force for good, for inclusion, for celebration of difference. Sophie’s incredible legacy lives on in the work of the foundation.

"Love and thoughts to Adam and the family. Rest in power incredible woman."

Sophie was just 20 when she was murdered Credit: Family photo

Sophie was in a coma for 13 days before she died of the serious head injuries inflicted when she and her boyfriend, Rob Maltby, were set upon in Stubbylee Park.

Ryan Herbert and Brendan Harris were found guilty of Sophie's murder and of the assault of Rob, who survived the attack. But in March, parole was granted to Ryan Herbert.

At the time, Sylvia said that she could never forgive Herbert and criticised the decision to release him.

She said: "Not only does it take your daughter’s life and her future, in reality they take your future as well."