Manchester Evening News
HUNDREDS of mourners gathered to pay their respects at the funeral of a 20-year-old woman who was kicked to death in a park. Sophie Lancaster, of Bacup, suffered severe head and facial injuries during the brutal assault in August.
Miss Lancaster and her boyfriend, Rob Maltby, 21, who survived the attack, had been targeted in the past for being dressed as Goths. Her family have since launched a campaign to highlight the hostility which Goths face.
The Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere (Sophie) memorial fund aims to raise money to teach young people about alternative cultures and to respect everyone.
Their campaign, run via the myspace website, has attracted wide support from the online Goth community and many are expected to travel from around Britain to the service...
FOND FAREWELL FOR MURDERED WOMAN Express, UK November 13th
The humanist funeral held in Whitworth this morning, celebrated the life of the young woman who was brutally kicked to death as she walked through a park with her boyfriend.
Miss Lancaster, who was from Bacup in Lancashire, slipped into a coma and died in hospital 13 days after suffering fatal injuries to her head and face.
Her partner, 21-year-old Rob Maltby, also fell into a coma but survived the horrific attack. He suffered bleeding on the brain and is still recovering from his injuries.
Her white coffin was covered in messages from friends. One read: “I would love to hug you right now – see you in my thoughts and dreams.”... read more
Sophie's final goodbye
By Camilla Sutcliffe
Lancashire Evening Telegraph
MOURNERS wrote goodbye messages on the coffin of alleged murder victim Sophie Lancaster as condolences from around the world were shown on a projector screen.
Hundreds of people from across the country gathered at The Riverside Centre, Whitworth, for the humanist funeral ceremony, which celebrated diversity and difference.
Sophie, 20, died in August after she and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were involved in an incident in Stubbylee Park, Bacup. Police said the Bacup couple were attacked because of the way they looked.
Portraits of former Haslingden High School pupil painted by Robert, 21, who survived the attack, decorated the funeral hall.
After the ceremony guests were invited to write messages to Sophie in black marker pen on her white coffin as music by the Beatles, Jeff Buckley and Marilyn Manson was played.
Poems by Christina Rossetti, Brian Patten and one written for Sophie by Robert, were read out during the ceremony.
Mourners then walked in procession led by a lone piper, to Whitworth Cemetary where poetry by Keats and Shelley was read before the burial.
At the service, officiator Sue Davies said that Sophie's "painful, cruel and tragic" death had shocked everyone, but that she would not want to be defined by the way she died. She said the funeral was very personal but,most importantly, welcoming, safe and inclusive for everyone.
She said: "Sophie Lancaster was an original - a remarkable and true individual. An exciting, fierce woman of high intelligence and understanding.
"Sophie's death is a profound tragedy of humanity. It is the tragedy of dehumanisation. It is the tragedy which unfortunately, despite all efforts, recurs again and again and is still with us today.
"With actions which are so atrocious, so incomprehensible that we are left struggling to make sense of the insensible. But we must never allow violence to be the final word."
She added that Sophie's three-year relationship with Robert was one which enriched them both.
After the ceremony friends said that it had done justice to Sophie's life. Close friend Joe Greenwood, 18, of Haslingden, said: "It was a beautiful service and it was wonderful to see so many people here to celebrate her life."
Paul Mannion, 23, of Hall Carr, Rawtenstall, added: "She was always happy, always laughing and always making other people laugh and see what life is really like. There are no ways to say what a shame it is to lose such a person."
Flowers were laid on her coffin by all mourners and donations have been made to the family's charity campaign SOPHIE (Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere). Further donations can be made through the campaign website at www.myspace.com/inmemoryofsophie Five youths will appear in Preston Crown Court on March 10 charged with Sophie's murder.
[Another article no new details but appears in a popular and widely distributed free paper Metro.]
Tributes to goth who was brutally killed
Metro, UK -