Ava White: Hundreds gather at Liverpool vigil in memory of 'bubbly' 12-year-old

4 December 2021, 14:51 | Updated: 4 December 2021, 19:47

A vigil was held for 12-year-old Ava White, who was stabbed in Liverpool
A vigil was held for 12-year-old Ava White, who was stabbed in Liverpool. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Hundreds of people gathered in Liverpool city centre for a vigil in memory of "bubbly" 12-year-old Ava White, who was tragically stabbed to death at a Christmas lights event.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Crowds gathered in Church Street, close to where the incident happened, just before 6pm on Saturday night.

Hundreds of balloons, some in the shape of the letter A, were released at the start of the vigil.

Balloon release for 12-year-old Ava White

Many people wore hoodies with Ava's face on and others had her name written on their faces.

The Radio City tower was lit up blue in her memory.

Imagine by John Lennon was performed by Astrid Smith as hundreds held up glowsticks and phones.

You'll Never Walk Alone, Hero and Where Is The Love were also played, with crowds singing along.

Hundreds gather at vigil for Ava White

A number of the crowd were in tears during the vigil.

Organiser of the event Anthony Goudie said: "The whole city now has come together to support this vigil, it's absolutely outstanding."

He read a message on behalf of Ava's cousin, which said: "I do wish that we could make more memories as we grow together but it is my time to make you as proud as we all are of you.

"I want to make you the proudest person ever.

"I love and I miss you so much, baby girl.

"It was too early for you but everything happens for a reason."

Hundreds of mourners attended the vigil
Hundreds of mourners attended the vigil. Picture: Alamy

Cllr Anna Rothery addressed the vigil and said: "No family should ever have to go through this, but we have to take something from this.

"All these children here tonight who have turned out, you are our future, you deserve to go about your daily life knowing that you are going to be safe in this city."

She called for the Government, council, police and other agencies to work together to eradicate knife crime.

She said: "Our children deserve better."

Many members of the crowd were moved to tears
Many members of the crowd were moved to tears. Picture: Alamy

The Year 8 student was attacked in the city centre last Thursday after a Christmas lights switch-on, where an argument reportedly broke out and escalated with a knife being drawn.

She was taken to Alder Hey Children's Hospital after the attack at about 8.30pm but later died from "catastrophic injuries", police said.

A 14-year-old boy appeared in court earlier this week charged with her murder.

Read more: Moment football rivals unite in poignant tribute to Ava White, 12

12 year old girl stabbed to death in Liverpool city centre

Organisers A&E Entertainment said in a statement: "We will all come together as one, standing up against knife crime and standing strong for the family of a beautiful life lost.

"We stand together as we light Liverpool up for a beautiful little soul Ava White."

On Friday, Ava's father, Robert Martin, paid tribute, saying her family has been left "completely devastated and heartbroken".

In a statement released by Merseyside Police, Mr Martin said: "We would like to say thank you to everybody for their ongoing support during this devastating time.

"Thank you to every one of you for your kind messages and donations.

"As Ava's family we are completely devastated and heartbroken by what has happened and we ask that you respect our privacy at this time and allow us to grieve as a family."

Read more: Ava White: 'Bubbly' 12-year-old fatally stabbed following argument in Liverpool

Tributes were also paid to Ava at the Merseyside derby match, between Liverpool FC and Everton, on Wednesday.

The teams set aside their fierce rivalry to honour Ava on the 12th minute, in symbolism of her tragically young age.

A banner with both club badges and the message "No more knives in our city" was held by supporters.

Liverpool player Trent Alexander-Arnold also wore a T-shirt reading "RIP Ava White" under his shirt for the game.

A 14-year-old boy has been charged with her murder and was remanded in a youth detention centre pending a court case.

Read more: Boy, 14, charged with murder of 12-year-old Ava White

12-year-old girl, Ava White, killed in Liverpool

Merseyside Police have appealed for information and footage of the incident and the aftermath.

Detective Superintendent Sue Coombs, who is leading the investigation, said: "Please trust us that we are doing all we can to investigate and update people on this tragic incident, and we do not want anything to jeopardise this."