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Sophie tribute unites a town
FRIENDS and family of a woman who died after being attacked in a park staged a festival in her memory.
The 12-hour free music and football event for Sophie Lancaster was at Bacup Borough Football Club on Saturday.
Sophie, 20, a former Haslingden High School pupil from Bacup, died in hospital in August, two weeks after she and boyfriend Robert Maltby were attacked in Stubbylee Park in the town.
Mr Maltby, who was seriously injured in the attack, attended the event but was still too traumatised to talk.
Ten bands took to the stage from 1pm until 1am in the music marathon.
The festival was combined with Bacup Borough FC's Vodkat Northern Counties league match against Abbey Hey. A minute's silence was held by the team before their kick-off and Bacup players wore black arm-bands.
Kelly Roddy, lead singer of Bacup band Cosmic Slop who organised the festival, sang Walk in the Park', which the band wrote in Sophie's memory.
Kelly, 34, of Stacksteads, said: "The atmosphere was really good. Everyone came together to help celebrate Sophie's life and raise money for her memorial fund.
Sophie's brother, Adam, said: "I would like to thank Kelly for all her efforts organising the event."
Rossendale councillor Alan Neal, who helped at the event, said: "Out of tragedy has come community cohesion. It is nice to see so many people of all ages getting together for a good cause."
Galen Wood, from the band the Swamp Nobs, returned from a European tour to play at the festival.
He said: "Sophie was one of our fans and came to quite a few of our gigs."
Money raised from the event will go to the fund Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere (SOPHIE), which has been set up in her memory.
l Five youths aged 15 to 17 have been charged with Sophie's murder.