Hundreds of mourners joined a vigil in Liverpool on Saturday for 12-year-old stabbing victim Ava White.
Ava was attacked on 25 November, close to where her family, friends, and others gathered for the vigil in Church Street after the city’s Christmas lights were switched on.
She was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, but died from “catastrophic injuries”, according to police.
A 14-year-old boy has been charged with her murder.
The Radio City tower was lit up blue in memory of the Year 8 student at Notre Dame Catholic College, and Imagine by John Lennon was performed by Astrid Smith, while hundreds held up glow sticks and phones to light up the vigil in Ava’s memory.
Hundreds of balloons were released at the start of the vigil, with many attendees wearing hoodies with Ava’s face on, while others had written her name on their faces.
Ava’s sister Mia and aunts held hands throughout the vigil, said Sky News’ Sadiya Chowdhury, who was on the scene.
Tears streamed down their faces
By Sadiya Chowdhury, news reporter
Gathering beneath the Christmas tree on Church Street, her family, friends and members of the public sang songs, including Mariah Carey’s hit Hero and You’ll Never Walk Alone – the city’s unofficial anthem
Ava’s sister Mia and aunts held hands throughout the vigil, as tears streamed down their faces. The crowd held up lights and waved their arms.
Above, Liverpool’s Radio City tower was lit up blue in a tribute to Ava.
Anthony Goudie, the vigil’s organiser, told Sky News: “We wanted to show Ava’s family love and support and the only way to do that was to bring the whole city together and show them that the city is there for them and give them extra strength at this difficult time. Awe want to spread awareness and raise awareness on knife crime and ensure people know they have to be vigilant. Unfortunately, the world we live in and the city we live in is not safe right now.”
Campaigners from Liverpool’s No More Knives campaign told the crowd of the damage knives do not just to victims of stabbings, but their families and society too.
Mandy Jamieson, whose 16-year-old son Daniel was killed during a fight in 2018, called on parents to check their children for knives.
Event organiser Anthony Goudie said: “The whole city now has come together to support this vigil, it’s absolutely outstanding.”
He read a message on behalf of Ava’s cousin, which said: “I do wish that we could make more memories as we grow together but it is my time to make you as proud as we all are of you.
“I want to make you the proudest person ever. I love and I miss you so much, baby girl. It was too early for you but everything happens for a reason.”
The 14-year-old boy charged with her murder cannot be named for legal reasons.
Merseyside Police said it was “vitally important” that no one “posts comments or names on social media which could potentially impact upon us getting justice for Ava’s family”.
Detective Superintendent Sue Coombs asked people to “trust us that we are doing all we can to investigate and update people on this tragic incident” and added: “We do not want anything to jeopardise this.”