Manchester is to hold one of several candlelit vigils across the UK in memory of a 16-year-old girl stabbed to death in Warrington over the weekend.
Brianna Ghey, a transgender girl from Birchwood in Warrington, was found by members of the public as she lay wounded on a path in Culcheth Linear Park at around 3:13pm on Saturday 11 February, and was sadly pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services a short while later.
She was just 16 years old.
Detectives from Cheshire Police confirmed yesterday that a 15-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, both from the Culcheth area, have been arrested on suspicion of murder, and remain in custody assisting with ongoing investigations.
In the meantime, people are now being encouraged to make their way to Sackville Gardens in Manchester city centre tomorrow night (Wednesday 15 February) to light a candle in Brianna’s memory – with vigil organisers saying they want to come together as a community to “show respect for her tragically short life”.
Vigils are also being held in Liverpool, Bristol, Glasgow, and Leeds in the coming days, and additional events are planned in Aberdeen, Reading, Plymouth, Brighton, Belfast, London, and York.
The vigils are being organised by action groups, and members and allies of LGBTQ+ communities.
Brianna’s family also paid an emotional tribute to to their “much-loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister” yesterday.
The heartbroken family said in a statement: “She was a larger-than-life character who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her. Brianna was beautiful, witty, and hilarious. Brianna was strong, fearless, and one of a kind.
“The loss of her young life has left a massive hole in our family, and we know that the teachers and her friends who were involved in her life will feel the same.
“We would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support during this extremely difficult time.”
Cheshire Police has also issued a public appeal for information, with Detective Chief Superintendent Mike Evans confirming that “a number of enquiries in relation to this incident are underway”, and adding: “I would ask anyone who has any information, no matter how big or small, that they believe could help with our investigation to get in touch.
“We are also keen for people and businesses within the local community to check any CCTV or dashcam footage for anything that may aid our investigation.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Cheshire Police on 101 quoting IML 1476832 or reporting it via the website, or alternatively, information can also be passed on to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Featured Image – Cheshire Police
Rio Ferdinand is helping change young lives with community programmes in Oldham and Salford
Ex-Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand and his foundation’s wonderful work is helping better the lives of young people in Oldham, Salford and across Manchester as a whole.
Over the past year, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and The Guinness Partnership have been putting together a vital social initiative aimed at providing opportunities and resources to young people across Greater Manchester, helping them develop their skills and aspirations for future working life.
Now, after a hugely successful 12-month campaign, their skills and progression community programme, participants are well and truly starting to feel the impact, with 90% of those taking part now stating that they are enjoying a clear idea and focus on what they want to do for a career.
It may have be thriving in Salford and Oldham at the moment, but given the benefit the scheme has already had — not to mention the ambition the Rio Ferdinand Foundation has shown around various areas of the UK since being set up in 2012 — we can only see this spreading further across the region.
The skills-based initiative engages young people aged under 25 years old and living in Guinness homes in a six-month skills-based programme which has been up and running in the two Manc boroughs, as well as the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, since March 2022.
Young people from both Oldham and Salford take part in a weekly schedule of activities designed to tackle youth unemployment, including digital media training (photography, product design, filmmaking, podcasting), building and construction, CV workshops, mock interviews and more.
Not only do these shadowing opportunities garner confidence and raise aspirations among other young people in the local community, but they also help directly develop their employability skills via mentoring.
For instance, Matthew, 19 from Royton in Oldham, completed the programme and then was supported to apply to the Guinness Aspire Awards to request funding to purchase camera and lighting equipment to help him start a small local photography business. Quality stuff.
Matt says that the scheme “has been an amazing opportunity and has given [him] a chance to get back on the right path… I know what I want to do now and can’t wait to start… I would recommend that other people in my position get involved with it in the future.”
As well as markedly increasing participants health and well-being, all 100% of those involved across Salford and Oldham reported feeling more confident, with many now enjoying opportunities with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s partners such as Warner Music, Kiss FM, The Jockey Club and the Gym Group.
Speaking on the programme’s success, Rio himself said in a statement: “The Foundation is committed to working with young people at the heart of their communities to offer support, training, and opportunities to those that need it… engaging with the Guinness Partnership has provided a great boost to our reach and our work”.
Well in, Rio. Thankfully, he isn’t the only ex-Manchester-based footballer still trying to make a difference in the local community either:
Campbell, 38, was found dead in his home in Mossley, Tameside, on Saturday 3 July. He had been fatally assaulted and died of the injuries he sustained in the attack.
Belfield was arrested on 23 March 2023 by Suriname authorities on suspicion of drug-related offences – he’ll likely remain in the South American nation’s jurisdiction to face these charges.
Then GMP want to bring him back to Manchester to face questioning from GMP’s Major Incident Team.
Detective Chief Inspector Liz Hopkinson from GMP’s Major Incident team said: “The news of Belfield’s arrest is an important development in our investigation, we will be working with international law enforcement agencies to bring Belfield back to Manchester and continue in our pursuit to find answers for Thomas’ family.
“Through vigilance shown by our colleagues in South America, Belfield was recognised by Suriname’s law enforcement upon his arrest and information regarding his whereabouts was shared with our Force Critical Wanted Unit.
“We have previously released numerous appeals to ask for help in finding him and we thank the public for their continued support in this case.
“This is an excellent result which shows once again, that UK law enforcement does not give up on finding those abroad who are wanted for offences in the UK.”