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Tributes to ‘inspirational’ Sylvia Lancaster flood in following her sudden death 

‘An amazing woman’

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Sophie Lancaster Foundation

Following the tragic news yesterday that Sophie Lancaster’s mum has passed away, tributes have been flooding in for the campaigner.

Sylvia Lancaster campaigned tirelessly following the murder of her daughter Sophie, who was kicked to death trying to protect her boyfriend when the couple were attacked for dressing as goths.

Sylvia devoted her life to running a foundation in Sophie’s name, with The Sophie Lancaster Foundation created to promote tolerance and stamp out prejudice and hatred.

Now the tributes have been pouring in, with people taking to social media to praise the incredible things she achieved since her daughter’s tragic death.

Former Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam wrote: “An amazing woman who, following the killing of her daughter Sophie fought for justice and created an amazing legacy to ensure her daughter’s name will always represent her mission – to stamp out prejudice, hatred & intolerance”.

Lancashire Police added: “We are shocked and saddened at Sylvia’s death. She worked tirelessly with us and many others to combat hate, prejudice and intolerance through @sophie_charity and to make sure Sophie’s legacy lives on. RIP Sylvia.”

Following her death, a statement on the foundation’s website read: “This is the hardest statement to write. It is with great shock and disbelief that we announce that Sylvia Lancaster has passed away. She died early this morning in Blackburn hospital.

“She had suffered from ill health for the last couple of years, but her death was sudden and unexpected. Sylvia had such a powerful life force; we cannot imagine a world without her in it.”

The tribute continued: “Following Sophie’s brutal murder, Sylvia put her energy into championing people from alternative subcultures and creating educational programmes to tackle prejudice and intolerance.

“She worked tirelessly to combat the inaccurate and lazy stereotyping that all too often leads to violent prejudice and promoted a culture of celebrating difference; something that leads to safer communities for us all.

“Sylvia was formidable. She challenged authority and fought for what she believed in. Her legacy is that Sophie will never be forgotten, and her daughter’s name will always represent her mission – to Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere.

“She will be sadly missed.

“There will be much to say over the course of the next few months. Initially all our thoughts are focused on supporting Adam and his family in the coming days and weeks.

“Hold those you love a little bit closer today.

“We are finishing for the last time using Sylvia’s sign off. Love and Light, The Sophie Lancaster Foundation Team.”
 

Sylvia recently spoke of her disappointment, as her daughter’s murderer Ryan Herbert is set to be freed from prison.

Herbert was sixteen-years-old when he was jailed for life in 2008 for murdering Sophie, twenty, in a park in Bacup, Lancashire.

Sophie and her boyfriend, Robert Maltby, were attacked by Herbert and five other teenage boys on August 11th, 2007. Sophie bore the brunt of the attack as she attempted to protect Robert from the assault, which was believed to have been provoked over their goth appearances.

The couple were so badly beaten that when paramedics arrived, they could not tell if they were male or female.

Lancashire Police

Herbert admitted both murder and assault causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and was given a minimum term of sixteen years and three months, though this was later reduced to fifteen and a half years.

Last month, it was announced that Herbert will be released from prison, with High Court judge Mr Justice William Davis concluding that he had made ‘exceptional progress’ behind bars.

Speaking to ITV News at the time, Sylvia said: “They haven’t done justice for our Sophie. All you want at the end of the day is justice.

“You don’t want anything out of the ordinary, you just want justice.”

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation

Reacting to the Parole Board’s conclusion that Herbert has made ‘significant changes to his life which reflected his remorse, his insight and increased maturity’, Sylvia said: “I hope he has. I hope he has for his sake and for society’s sake.

“We don’t want men walking round with vicious and ridiculous ideas about how he should behave.

“I do understand that people can change – and do change – but I think that we’ll sit back and see what happens.”

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Huge protests taking place in Manchester and UK this weekend over soaring cost of living

Thousands of people are set to protest the government’s response to the cost of living crisis

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Thousands of people are set to take to the streets across the UK this weekend in protest of the soaring cost of living.

Enough is Enough – a campaign group calling for the government to take action against the ongoing cost of living crisis – has so far organised rallies in fifty different towns and cities across the country for this Saturday (October 1st).

Manchester is one of the cities involved in the mass protests, with a rally due to begin at 12pm at Piccadilly Gardens. 

Other locations also staging protests include Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Ellesmere Port, Preston and Sheffield. 

The campaign wrote on its official Instagram account: “It’s time to say #EnoughlsEnough.

“No to handouts for the rich and hardship for the rest. This Saturday, October 1st, we’ll be protesting in 50 cities and towns across Britain.

“Main protests on listed graphic but dozens more on the website. Join the campaign today to find out about your local event.”

Enough Is Enough was established by trade union and community organisation leaders over the summer in a bid to ‘push back against the misery forced on millions by rising bills, low wages, food poverty, shoddy housing and a society run only for a wealthy elite’. 

The campaign has five demands:

  • A real pay rise.
  • Slash energy bills.
  • End food poverty.
  • Decent homes for all.
  • Tax the rich.

Back in August, Mayor Andy Burnham threw his support behind the movement, with him attending a protest in Manchester on August 30th.

Speaking to Channel 4 news outside of Manchester Cathedral ahead of the rally, Burnham said: “I go round this city all the time. People are scared. They don’t know how they’re going to get through.

“People’s resilience is already low. Their mental health is low. How are people going to get through?”

Visit the Enough Is Enough website for more information on the movement and any protests happening near you. 

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All primary school kids to get free breakfast as part of Labour’s childcare plan

Labour hopes to fund the plan by reversing Kwasi Kwarteng’s abolition of the 45p higher tax rate

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Crieff Primary School & Greggs Foundation

All primary school pupils will receive free breakfast under Labour’s newly unveiled childcare plan. 

Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson will announce the plan at the Labour conference in Liverpool today, where she will reveal that all children regardless of wealth would get a free morning meal. 

Currently, schools are only eligible for free breakfasts if 40% of their pupils come from poorer families. 

Labour say the plan would cost roughly £365million, and would be funded by reversing Kwasi Kwarteng’s abolition of the 45p higher tax rate.

The reintroduction of the tax rate would bring in an estimated £2billion, with the remaining cash to go towards a recruitment drive of NHS doctors, nurses and midwives.

Phillipson also hopes the pledge will reduce childcare costs for parents who need to start work early. 

She will say at the conference today: “Labour will build a modern childcare system. One that supports families from the end of parental leave through to the end of primary school. 

“As the first step on that road, we will introduce breakfast clubs for every primary school child in England, driving up standards in maths, reading, and writing, and giving mams and dads choices.”

The Association of School and College Leaders said of the plan: “Not only is this important in terms of wellbeing, but it is also educationally important as pupils are not in a fit state to learn if they are hungry.”

Research by KidsHealth.org showed that high protein and fibre-rich breakfasts help to boost children’s attention span, concentration and memory, all of which are essential for good performance at school.

By reducing the stress of the morning routine for families and children, breakfast clubs can also help to improve behaviour and attendance. 

Sam Bailey, the headteacher of the Forest Academy in Barnsley, said after the launch of their own free breakfast club: “Pupil behaviour has improved dramatically and attitudes to learning are the best they have ever been.”

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Manchester ruled out of hosting Eurovision 2023

BREAKING: The decision now lays between two northern cities

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Manchester has been ruled out of hosting the Eurovision song contest for 2023 as the shortlist for cities is cut from seven to two.

The BBC has announced today that Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield have been axed from the shortlist of wannabe hosts for the competition.

This leaves Liverpool and Glasgow as the last standing contenders.

The BBC said the two remaining cities, which both have riverside arena venues, had ‘the strongest overall offer’.

A final decision will be made ‘within weeks’, the broadcaster added.

If Liverpool is selected as the host, the competition would be staged at the 11,000-capacity dockside M&S Bank Arena, which is next to a conference centre and near the city centre’s hotels and rail links.

In Glasgow, alternatively, the 14,300-capacity OVO Hydro venue would play home to Eurovision.

Liverpool and Glasgow will be scored on a set of criteria, the BBC said, including:

  • “Having a suitable venue and sufficient space to deliver the requirements of the Song Contest.
  • “The commitment that can be made by a city or region to hosting the event, including the financial contribution.
  • “The strength of the cultural offer which includes off screen local and regional activity as well as showcasing Ukrainian culture and music.
  • “And alignment with the BBC’s strategic priorities as a public service broadcaster, such as providing value to all audiences and supporting the creative economy in the UK.”

It was announced last month that the UK would host the annual song contest for the first time in twenty-four years after organisers decided it could not go ahead in Ukraine – who won this year’s competition – due to the ongoing conflict with Russia.

The UK came in second place thanks to Sam Ryder’s smash-hit ‘Spaceman’, prompting the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to open talks with the BBC.

A statement from BBC director general Tim Davie read: “It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

“Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege. The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity.”

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