Dozens of vigils will be held across the UK in memory of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey, who was fatally stabbed in a park over the weekend.
The teenager was found by members of the public as she lay injured on a path in Linear Park, Warrington, at around 3:13pm on Saturday.
Two 15-year-old boys, from the local area, remain in custody after being arrested on suspicion of murder, Cheshire Police said.
Brianna was a transgender girl, but police said there is no evidence to suggest her murder was a hate crime, although her friends say on social media that she had been “harassed for years” because of her gender identity.
So far, at least 31 vigils have been announced to pay tribute to Brianna, who was a “larger-than-life character” and a “much loved daughter, granddaughter and little sister.”
A map compiled by Stonewall Was A Riot shows that vigils are taking place in cities across the UK, including Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Newcastle, Brighton, Belfast, Manchester, Birmingham and Plymouth.
The vigils take place between tonight and Sunday.
Notts LGBT Network tweeted: “Join Nottingham’s LGBT+ community in mourning the loss of Brianna Ghey, one of our own taken too soon.
“We will gather at the Brian Clough statue at 7pm on Friday, February 17 for a moment of silence and solidarity.”
Pride in Surrey wrote: “Join one of our candlelight vigils on Wednesday 15th February in #Woking and #Guildford, in memory of Brianna Ghey.
“Vigils will be held beginning at 7 p.m. Candles will be provided, but feel free to bring your own.”
And Norwich Trans Pride posted: “We are angry and heartbroken. At the loss of a sweet girl, because the media stripped her of her dignity.
“For all trans youth around the world who are struggling with the same fears and violence, who are fighting for their dreams and their future.”
More than £63,000 has been donated to a fundraising page set up for Brianna’s family, at the time of writing, which said the schoolgirl “caused those who knew her to laugh” and was “eager to take her exams this year. “.
Paying tribute to the teenager, who had a large following on the social media site TikTok, her family said in a statement: “Brianna was a much loved daughter, granddaughter and little sister.
“She was a larger-than-life character who would leave a lasting impression on everyone who met her. Brianna was beautiful, witty, and hilarious. Brianna was strong, fearless, and unique.”
“The loss of his young life has left a huge hole in our family and we know the teachers and their friends who were involved in his life will feel the same way.
“We would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support during this extremely difficult time. We would like to thank the police for their support and the witnesses for helping with the investigation.”
“Continued respect for privacy is greatly appreciated.”
At the scene Monday, several police vans could be seen parked in the surrounding area, with several uniformed officers patrolling the park.
Police tape covered a series of trails, cordoning off much of the area to the public, and police dogs could also be seen on the scene.
Flowers were also left nearby, with messages including “Fly high angel.”
The principal of Brianna’s school, Birchwood Community High School, said they were “really devastated” by her death.
In a statement, Emma Mills said: “We are shocked and truly devastated to learn of Brianna’s death.
“It is understandable that this is a very difficult and distressing time for many and we will do everything we can to support our students and the school community at large.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Mike Evans said police are pursuing several lines of investigation and asked anyone with information to come forward.
He said: “Several investigations are underway in relation to this incident and we are doing everything possible to establish the exact circumstances of what happened.”
“At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the circumstances surrounding Brianna’s death are hate related.
“Patrols in the local area have been intensified and officers will remain in the Culcheth area to provide reassurance and address any concerns residents may have.”
Several schoolchildren, still in their school uniforms, came to lay flowers at the police cordon at the entrance to the park.
A 19-year-old student, who had met Brianna and knew her friends, also placed a bouquet of roses at the scene.
He said: “I felt really bad for her. I knew her, classmates of mine who knew her, from school.
“They’ve all been putting tributes on their stories on Instagram and TikTok and so on, and the GoFundMe page has raised over £17,000.
“I felt really guilty, I felt so bad for her, it must be horrible for her family. I can’t imagine losing a daughter.”
“She was really nice and bubbly and energetic and sweet. She was quite an introvert, but when you could talk to her, she was bubbly and sweet and stuff.”
His mother added: “Thinking about what he must have been going through, the last few… it’s horrible, a knife crime, none of that should be happening now. There’s too much going on, isn’t it?”
“I just hope (they) find out who did it and what were the reasons behind it.”
Anyone with information can contact Cheshire Police on 101 or online, quoting reference IML 1476832.
Information can also be reported anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.