Katie Rough’s heartbroken parents were joined by the Archbishop of York and hundreds of supporters as they released balloons to mark what should have been their little girl’s eighth birthday. Instead of having a birthday party, Katie’s family released balloons into the sky in her memory.
The seven year old schoolgirl was discovered close to playing fields with critical injuries last month. It was later revealed that she had severe cuts to her neck and chest, which were made with a Stanley knife. A 15 year old girl has been charged with her murder and possession of an offensive weapon and is being held in a youth detention centre until her next court appearance.
Meanwhile, Katie’s family and John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, has held a special ceremony on parkland close to Westfield Primary School, which she attended. Her parents Paul and Alison Rough were seen comforting each other as well wishers gathered around them, ready to release multi-coloured balloons.
The gathered crowd sang a poignant rendition of happy birthday as they let go of hundreds of balloons. Katie’s devastated parents have issued a statement thanking everyone for their support as they mourn their little girl.
They said: “Katie was a beautiful, creative and special little girl who will be extremely missed by all who knew her. We will be releasing balloons to celebrate her life. Katie’s parents, Paul and Alison Rough, would like to thank everyone for their kind words and ongoing support through this very difficult and sad time.”
Mr Rough had earlier posted a birthday message to his “princess” on his Facebook page, saying how much he missed his daughter. One mum who attended the ceremony said that her daughter was in the same class as Katie had been at school. She said she had been overcome with emotion when releasing her balloon.