Candlelight vigil held on anniversary of Ashley Wadsworth's murder in England

White light for 'angel day'

Tracey Prediger

A light snow fell against a grey backdrop of Okanagan Lake as Christy Gendron remembered her daughter Ashley Wadsworth, Wednesday.

“On Feb. 1, Jesus held out his hand and brought her to heaven,” Gendron shared.

Families, best friends, and complete strangers gathered for a candlelight vigil in Ashely’s honour Wednesday night at Kin Beach in Vernon.

As the crowd of more than 50 helped each other light their candles, the song “If I die young” by the Band Perry played in the background.

Ashely’s sister shared her poem through tears, saying: “They say that memories are golden and, yes, that may be true, but we never wanted memories, we only wanted you.”

Christie Wadsworth also spoke on behalf of the friends and family who could not attend in person, saying: “If anything, today we can remember Ashley’s beautiful smile, contagious chuckle and her ability to love her family and friends unconditionally.

“We will hold you in our hearts until we can hold you in heaven.”

At the end of the vigil, bouquets of balloons were released. Gendron explained the significance of the colours chosen. “Yellow was Ashley’s favourite colour, purple represents the domestic violence she endured, white is for all the other angels up there who have lost their lives because of cruel acts of violence.”

There were also green balloons in the bouquets. Green was Liam Taylor’s favourite colour and Gendron explained the common bond she and Liam’s grandmother share. Both lost 19 year olds, both brutally murdered in Essex, England, one year apart.

Gendron says Ashley was always helping others and she knows her daughter would want to help anyone get the courage to flee domestic violence. “We had bought her her ticket, she was leaving and that’s the most dangerous time…”

Gendron went on to say, “Trust your gut, even if they say ‘we’re fine.” She also encourages coming up with a code word to use in case of trouble, advises anyone traveling abroad to know emergency numbers to call.

Wadsworth's death made international headlines after she was found stabbed to death by a man she travelled across the globe to meet.

Jack Sepple pleaded guilty in a U.K court and was sentenced to life in prison. He will serve a minimum 23 1/2 years in jail.

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