Brianna Ghey’s mother leads emotional tribute to ‘amazing, unique and joyful’ teen at vigil

Hundreds of people shone the torches on their phones during a two-minute silence as they reflected on the life of Brianna Ghey, which was so tragically and so brutally cut short, ITV News North of England reporter Kelly Foran reports

People gathered at Golden Square Shopping Centre in Warrington on Sunday to pay tribute to Brianna Ghey.

It marked one year since the 16-year-old was murdered by teenagers Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe in a park in Cheshire.

During their sentencing earlier this month, the judge said the “exceptionally brutal” murder had elements of both sadism on the part of Jenkinson and transphobic hate on the part of Ratcliffe.

A vigil was held in Brianna's honour at Golden Square Shopping Centre in Warrington on Sunday Credit: Family handout
Esther Ghey told parents to 'hold your children tight and never stop telling them that that you love them' during the vigil Credit: PA

Addressing the crowd at the vigil, Brianna’s mother Esther Ghey said: “Brianna was an amazing, unique and joyful teenager.

“I will be forever thankful that I was lucky enough to spend 16 years with her. She taught me so much and gave me so much happiness and love.

“If there’s one piece of advice that I can give to any parent, it would be to hold your children tight, and never stop telling them that that you love them.

“I want to thank you all for coming here today to pay respect to Brianna. I hope that wherever she is now that she can feel the love that we’ve created by joining together today.”

Tributes left by people at the vigil Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

Brianna’s headteacher Emma Mills told those gathered to honour her memory by being “true to yourself”.

“Brianna knew who she was,” she said.

“And she was determined to be true to that. This determination spirit is something that I always admired about Brianna, and it’s a deserving legacy for us to remember her by.”

She said that the pressure to conform is “so intense” for teenagers. Emma added: “Societal pressure to conform is very real, for all of us.

“But the level of pressure as a teenager amongst your peers can be so intense. Brianna knew who she was, and she didn’t bow to the pressures around her.

"Please remember that about her. Be true to yourself, be yourself, and not a version of yourself that you think others want you to be.”

Many of those who attended the vigil wore pink in solidarity with the transgender community Credit: PA

It comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak refused to apologise to Brianna’s father and said it is “sad and wrong” to link his transgender joke at Prime Minister’s Questions to her case.

Brianna’s father, Peter Spooner, said Mr Sunak should say sorry for the “degrading” and “dehumanising” remark made in the Commons.

Mr Sunak had accused Sir Keir Starmer of having difficulty in “defining a woman” during an attack on Labour Party U-turns.

Esther Ghey was visiting Parliament when Mr Sunak aimed the jibe at Sir Keir.

His comment prompted fierce criticism from across the political spectrum, with Sir Keir telling Mr Sunak: “Of all the weeks to say that, when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber. Shame.”

But on Thursday the Prime Minister claimed it was “the worst of politics” to link his comments to Brianna’s case.

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