Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has demonstrated his support to stamp out hate crime and prejudice by sharing a platform with a mother whose daughter was murdered because of her appearance.
Lord Willy Bach joined Sylvia Lancaster in talking to teenage students at Groby Community College and Brookvale High School about raising awareness of hate crime at an event organised by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and Leicestershire Police.
Sylvia’s daughter Sophie Lancaster was with her boyfriend Rob Maltby when they were subjected to a brutal, unprovoked attack in a Lancashire park nine years ago. She died of her injuries 13 days later.
The couple both had a long-standing attachment to the goth subculture and wore gothic clothing. It is believed this was the motivation for them being attacked.
Since her death, Sylvia Lancaster has spent years campaigning to stamp out hate and prejudice through a charity she set up in her daughter’s name.
At the event in Groby, students watched a film called Black Roses which intercuts Sylvia’s recollections of her daughter with first-person poetry written by English poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage.
After the screening, she took part in a question and answer panel for students and staff to discuss the topic of hate crime, along with the PCC and Inspector Daniel Eveleigh of Leicestershire Police.
Afterwards the Commissioner said: “The appalling murder of Sophie Lancaster, who was brutally assaulted simply because of her appearance, is a shocking example of how hate and prejudice can show itself in such a violent and extreme way.
“Sylvia has committed herself to doing everything she can to raise awareness of hate crime and educate young people so that we can work to eradicate it from society.”
The Commissioner urged students to have the courage to report hate crime and play their part in stamping it out.
Sylvia Lancaster told them: “Be proud of who you are because you have the right to be that person and to live your life the way you choose. Don’t be scared of difference, whatever it is. Get to know what difference is and learn to celebrate it.”
Stamp It Out! is a partnership bringing together different groups and organisations all committed to challenging, tackling and stamping out hate within Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. To learn more visit http://www.stamp-it-out.co.uk
You can find out more about Sophie Lancaster and the charity set up in her name by visiting www.sophielancasterfoundation.com
Sylvia Lancaster (front row, centre) with Groby Community College students Lauren Dann, Lauren Fawcett and Rebecca Felstead. Together with (back, left to right): Lord Willy Bach (Police and Crime Commissioner); Bill Cullen (Deputy Chief Executive, Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council); The Mayor of Hinckley & Bosworth, Cllr Richard Allen; Cllr Chris Boothby (HBBC Executive Member for Community Safety Services); Cllr Ozzy O'Shea (HBBC Ward Member for Ratby, Bagworth and Thornton); and Cllr Mike Hall (Leader of HBBC).
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Friday 15th July 2016