Schoolfriends of Megan Roberts, whose body was recovered from the River Ouse earlier this year, have completed a walk in her memory ahead of her 21st birthday.
Fifteen of Megan’s closest friends and family – who grew up with her from primary school at Deighton Gates and on to Wetherby High School – organised the walk around Bolton Abbey.
Mum Jackie, who lives in Wetherby, said she was touched by what they did, especially as it came so close to her daughter’s birthday and her own. She said: “It has been quite a poignant time because it was my 50th this weekend, which was an emotional time for me, and it would have been Megan’s 21st on September 16.
“I had wanted to celebrate both of our big birthdays by going on holiday together.
“I have been really touched that they are all people that have gone to school with Megan from a very young age and they are all 21 now.
“For them to organise this walk in her memory it is very touching and it says a lot about Megan as well.
“So many people want to remember her and, like me, want to keep her memory alive.”
The walk also raised £1,200 for York Rescue Boat, a charity Jackie supports as part of her campaigning efforts to promote water safety.
In June, Jackie took this mission to Westminster with the drowning-prevention charity Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS), when 41 MPs signed a pledge to support education on the issue.
“I am a big supporter of York Rescue Boat because I think what they are doing is something really good. When we discussed the walk I said it was the best cause to support at the moment,” she said.
She is, however, still fighting for barriers to be erected where Megan fell into the River Ouse and hopes that, when achieved, this will provide extra protection where it is really needed.
Jackie also took part in the walk alongside some familiar faces as she used to help out in class and knew Megan’s friends from an early age.
She said: “We went around Bolton Abbey and it was just such a lovely thing to do. It was quite emotional but it felt positive.
“It says a lot about them. They are such lovely young people, and they have proved that young people can do the most amazing things.
“I only wish she knew how much people loved her. She was a very unassuming girl and would never have thought of it.”
On Megan’s birthday on September 16, Jackie is hoping to accompany some of her university friends to the riverside where she drowned to put out candles and balloons.
She said: “It is an opportunity to sit and remember Megan.”
Daniel Himsworth, Jacob Stanley, Barney Parsons, Megan Tucker, Ellie Beck, Katie Jones, Steph Leetch, and Emma Handley took part in the walk, and Jess Pool, Charlotte Walkden, Jess Ragg, and Megan Roberts had family members attend on their behalf.