The Sophie Lancaster Foundation visits RSFC
Last Friday, Adam, from the Sophie Lancaster Foundation visited college to deliver a talk to year 12 students to highlight the tragic murder of his sister, Sophie. Sophie was a 20-year-old student who, alongside her boyfriend Robert, was targeted in a Bacup park by a gang of youths, just for the way they looked. As a result of severe head injuries Sophie sustained in the attack, she was put into a coma from which she never regained consciousness, and died of her injuries 13 days later. The police ruled the attack to be linked to the couple wearing gothic fashion and being members of the goth subculture.
The session was delivered as part of an ongoing discussion in year 12 tutorial groups surrounding hate crime and discrimination. Adam was able to share a personal, real-life scenario that hits home for many students at RSFC as the attack was in the local Rochdale area.
In response to the horrific events, Sophie’s family set up The Sophie Lancaster Foundation. The charity works to create a lasting legacy to Sophie, seeks to tackle prejudice and hatred, and broaden the understanding of subcultures. As part of their work, the charity visits schools and colleges and works with police and social services to raise awareness of hate crime.
Speaking about the unprovoked attack on Sophie, Adam told the students: “She didn’t say anything, she didn’t do anything. She just looked different.” Adam encouraged students to accept diversity and to not judge someone based on how they look. He also told the students: "It's important for people to be reminded of Sophie’s story - for people to learn from it, and be encouraged to accept diversity and difference.”
Students asked Adam a variety of questions about Sophie, his relationship with her, and how he and his family now feel about the events.
In 2013, because of the work of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, Greater Manchester Police became the first force in England to record and monitor hate crimes and incidents against people from alternative subcultures.
The charity has also worked with police and politicians to ensure individuals who are part of subcultures are protected by the law, and in 2014, Sylvia, Sophie’s Mum, received an OBE for Community Cohesion - Especially In Reduction Of Hate Crime.
Thank you to Adam and the Sophie Lancaster Foundation for delivering such an important session to RSFC students.
For more information on the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, please visit www.sophielancasterfoundation.com