Cousin of murdered backpacker Grace Millane filling handbags to give to women fleeing abuse
The cousin of a woman who was murdered on her gap year has started a charity in her name and is handing out handbags filled with essential and luxury items to women fleeing abuse.
The Love Grace project was started after 21-year-old Grace Millane, from Essex, was murdered by a man she went on a date with while travelling New Zealand in 2018.
The charity collects handbags filled with essentials and gifts for women seeking refuge from domestic abuse.
Grace's cousin Liz Lee, from North Tyneside, said when they started the charity they only aimed to collect 50 handbags but have since donated 13,000 handbags across Essex.
This is the second time they have brought the donations to the North East to make a difference in the region.
Video report by Katie Cole.
Ms Lee said: "This is something positive to come out of a negative. Grace loved a handbag. She always took such pride in her appearance, so we thought we’ve all got a handbag we don’t use so we collected them together."
The handbags contain five essential items - shampoo, conditioner, a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap or shower gel - as well as extras and luxuries.
Ms Lee added: “We thought we’ll do fifty that will all be in Grace's name, that will be lovely and it's just snowballed. It's fantastic."
Each handbag that is donated has a tag on it which reads "love Grace x" in Grace's handwriting and has a picture of a flower on it that Grace painted.
The bags are then donated to women refuges like the The Angelou Centre in Newcastle.
Olivia Madden, from The Angelou Centre, said some women arrive at the refuge with nothing and so the bags make a big difference.
She said: "They are doing a marvellous job.
"She left but Grace is still alive, her spirit is still hanging around in the sky to save these women and children who have suffered from the domestic abuse."
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, support and advice is available here:
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