Hugh Grant backs Haslingden's Sophie Foundation

Lancashire Telegraph: Hugh Grant sports his Sophie wristband. Hugh Grant sports his Sophie wristband.

A STRING of A-list stars showed their support for a Haslingden charity at a top London science event.

Actor Hugh Grant was among the celebrities who sported a Sophie Lancaster Foundation wristband at the Compendium of Reason event, which was staged at London’s Hammersmith Apollo.

Others who gave their backing to the anti-hate crime campaign included comedian Ross Noble, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and TV science presenter Professor Brian Cox.

Kate Conboy-Greenwood, cam- paign manager at the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, travelled to the event with volunteer Karen Woodward.

They were invited to the event, following Sophie’s mum, Sylvia, giving talks in schools throughout the UK about the issue of hate crime.

Kate said: “It’s always great to meet new people.

“When we were announced as one of the charities to benefit, you could hear little pockets cheer all around the crowd.

“It was a real surprise for us that so many people had heard of our charity, even as far away London. It just shows that the message about hate crime is spreading and we will continue to work at that.”

The charity was set up by the gap year student’s mum, Sylvia, with a mission summed up using her daughter’s name as an acronym – Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere. East Lancashire was shocked when Sophie, 20, was fatally injured, being kicked and stamped on by a gang of drunken teenagers in Stubbylee Park, Bacup in August 2007.

The reason the gang turned on Sophie and her boyfriend, Rob Maltby, 21, who survived the attack, was because of their alternative appearance, choosing to dress as ‘goths’.

When she set up the charity, Sylvia said: “What I’ve learned since her attack is that people of all ages who are part of a subculture, like Goths, emos, punks, moshers, and everything in between, particularly younger people, are being subjected to serious and regular attacks when they’re walking down the street, simply for expressing their individuality.

“We need to recognise this is totally unacceptable.”

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