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Mum of Murdered Teen in Emotional Visit to School
Tuesday 2nd February 2016 @ 14:24 by Lee Wild

Students at St Damian’s RC Science College in Ashton were given an invaluable lesson in tolerance and open mindedness, when the mother of murdered teenager Sophie Lancaster spoke at the school.

Sylvia Lancaster OBE spoke to the Year Nine group about accepting all people, despite their lifestyle or appearance.

It proved to be a moving experience for the teenagers as she spoke about how her daughter died following a horrific attack on her and her partner Rob Maltby in Bacup, Lancashire in 2007.

After the talk Sylvia explained how her visits to schools hopefully help youngsters see the consequences of their actions and makes them realise how they can make a difference, being tolerant of all people however they look or dress.

After spending time with the students Sylvia faced some in-depth questions from the group that left her overwhelmed.

“It’s inspiring. People don’t realise that it’s a two way process and some of the questions they asked were amazing,” she said.

She was full of praise for the students who showed great respect and empathy throughout the visit and she was desperate that her message had hit home.

“I’d like to leave the simple message that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.

“You should get to know people, get to know where they are at and where they are coming from and even though they are different to you, it’s about embracing those differences.

“Society would be really boring if we were all the same, so it’s about allowing people to be who they are,” said Sylvia.

The talk had ended with a moving video called ‘Dark Angel.’

Year Nine student David Wain said that Sylvia’s talk and the experiences she shared had had a real affect on him.

“It’s changed my view and not to judge people,” he explained.

Fellow student Jude Maxwell-Brahms agreed: “It’s quite moving because you wouldn’t expect
someone to do that to another person.”

When Sophie was murdered more than eight years ago her mum was clearly determined that she would find the strength to spread the message that people should be respected regardless of their look or dress.

The impact that talk had on the students at St Damian’s proves that message is definitely getting across.