Alice parents to speak at memorial

Published: Sunday 2nd November 2014 by The News Editor

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The parents of murdered schoolgirl Alice Gross will speak at a memorial service for their daughter today.

Rosalind Hodgkiss and Jose Gross plan to thank members of the public for an outpouring of support when Alice went missing, which saw the area of west London where the family live festooned with yellow ribbons and posters appealing for help.

It is hoped that hundreds of people will attend the service including relatives, school friends and teachers, as well as community figures such as the organisers of September’s Ealing half-marathon who gave runners yellow ribbons to wear during the race when Alice was missing.

The hour-long service will be led by humanist Caroline Black, who also oversaw the 14-year-old’s funeral, and will include a video of keen musician Alice performing a song called Don’t Let It Go Away.

A poem by local man Brian Clark about the yellow ribbons will be read, as well as Surprised By Joy by William Wordsworth, which the poet wrote about the loss of his daughter.

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “The impact of Alice’s disappearance and death has been felt by the whole community but of course most greatly by her family.

“I am very pleased that the community has been given this opportunity to come together to take part in this ceremony, which is intended to be a celebration of Alice’s life.

“Throughout these terrible weeks, the Gross family has shown tremendous dignity under the most tragic circumstances imaginable. I am sure that, as a community, we can continue to support them whilst also respecting their need to grieve in private for Alice.”

The schoolgirl’s family has set up a donation page in Alice’s memory for Youth Music, a charity that backs music projects for disadvantaged children.

She was last seen alive walking along a tow path in west London on August 28, and it is believed that she was murdered by convicted killer Arnis Zalkalns, who was caught on CCTV following her on his bike.

Despite the biggest police search since the aftermath of the July 7 bombings, it was more than a month before her body was found weighted down in the bed of the River Brent, near where she lived in Hanwell.

Zalkalns, who had previously served seven years for murdering his wife Rudite in his native Latvia, was found hanged in nearby Boston Manor Park on October 4, four weeks after he was reported missing to the police.

Published: Sunday 2nd November 2014 by The News Editor

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