Brianna Ghey’s mother on tribute campaign to her daughter: ‘It’s helped keep me going’

'It really helped our family to know that there is a sense of community and there are good people out there still.'

  • Esther Ghey says mindfulness has given her 'the strength to get through such a horrific time'.

  • She has established a campaign in memory of her daughter.

  • Brianna Ghey was found with fatal stab wounds in a park in Warrington on 11 February.

Brianna Ghey's mother Esther Ghey (right, pictured with Brianna) has set up a fundraiser in her daughter's memory. (family photograoh)
Brianna Ghey, left, with her mother Esther, who has set up a fundraiser in her daughter's memory. (Family photo)

The mother of Brianna Ghey has said a campaign she launched in her daughter's memory after she was tragically killed in a park in Warrington last year has helped “keep her going”.

Esther Ghey, 36, launched the Brianna Ghey: Peace in Mind appeal to raise money for the Mindfulness in Schools Project, which aims to help young people with their mental health.

Brianna, 16, a transgender girl from Birchwood, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in Culcheth Linear Park in the village of Culcheth on 11 February.

Esther said she has focused on staying strong for her elder daughter, 18, and in finding a positive purpose after her younger daughter's death.

"Life has completely changed," Esther told Yahoo News UK.

"I think initially the first few months were so difficult... I feel like the first couple of months I just felt like I was going to die myself. It was devastating to our family."

Speaking about the fundraiser, Esther said: "Moving forward to now, it's helping me to be involved with something that is so positive.

"That is something that is keeping me going."

The 'beautiful, witty and one-of-a-kind' teenager was killed in February. (Family Photograph)
Brianna Ghey, 16, was killed in a park in Warrington, Cheshire, in February. (Family photo)

So too, she explains, did the public outpouring of grief at her daughter's death, which saw vigils and demonstrations held not only locally but all across the country, as people came together to pay tribute to the teen.

"I really appreciate all of that," she said. "I think initially I wasn't very welcoming to the attention but when I did see all of the vigils that were coming through, all of the love that there was for Brianna, it really helped our family to know that there is a sense of community and there are good people out there still."

Brianna would have "loved" the public support for her and her family, Esther said.

"She loved attention, she was on TikTok, she loved doing TikTok videos - the more likes the better, all of the attention that came. That's another thing that I found comforting, just knowing Brianna wanted to be famous, if Brianna could see it she would have been so happy."

Members of the public attend a candle-lit vigil outside the Hippodrome Theatre in Birmingham, in memory of transgender teenager Brianna Ghey, who was fatally stabbed in a park on Saturday. The 16-year-old from Birchwood in Warrington, Cheshire, was found as she lay wounded on a path in Linear Park, Culcheth. Picture date: Friday February 17, 2023.
Vigils were held up and down the country in the aftermath of Brianna Ghey's death. (Alamy)

But while the family saw an overwhelming outpouring of grief and support following Brianna's death, Esther says they were also abused by anti-trans trolls, who took the extreme step of targeting a tribute page for the teen that had been set up by the funeral director.

"It's something I have experienced in the past week as well," said Esther. "It was a news article and I did the wrong thing and read the comments, I'm not going to do that any more. There was a lot of trans hate and trolling, we also experienced it on Brianna's tribute page."

Although it is something Esther says she won't waste energy on, she said "it is something people do need to be made aware of, and it's something that is pushing me to do what I'm doing with the campaign".

'She'd probably be cringing'

The campaign, which aims to raise £50,000 for the Mindfulness in Schools Project in partnership with the Warrington Guardian, aims to get mindfulness training into every school in the UK - starting in Warrington.

And having experienced Brianna's own struggles with her mental health, and in dealing with the aftermath of her death, Esther is a strong advocate for improving mental health education in schools.

"I've been practising mindfulness for about eight years on and off," she said.

"It has given me the mental resilience and the strength to get through such a horrific time in our lives, and it's given me the strength to also be a support for my other family members, to take care of my other daughter as well."

The campaign aims to bring wellbeing education into schools. (GoFundMe)
A mindfulness campaign has been launched in the wake of Brianna Ghey's death. (GoFundMe)

Fundraising efforts to date, which saw Esther and her partner take on the Great North Swim, have already resulted in 21 schools in Warrington signing up for mindfulness training.

Asked what Brianna would say about the hugely successful campaigning, Esther laughs at the idea of the response from her "typical teenage girl".

She told Yahoo News UK: "She's probably say, 'Mum, that's so embarrassing'.

"I'd love to say she'd be so supportive, but she'd probably just be cringing. As a mum, If you're not embarrassing then you're probably doing it wrong."

What is the Mindfulness in Schools project?

The Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) is a charity that aims to bring mindfulness to schools, training teachers in delivering programmes that use mindfulness to promote "thought, feeling and concern for others".

The charity says: "Mindfulness trains us to direct our attention to whatever is happening in the present moment.

"This awareness means we can respond more skilfully to whatever the present moment throws at us."

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To donate to the Brianna Ghey: Peace in Mind campaign, click here.