Friends plan rose memorial in another tribute to Liberty

The Oxford Times: Perry Kerslake, Ben Costley, Nicole Smith and Kieran Butler at the balloon release for Liberty Baker Perry Kerslake, Ben Costley, Nicole Smith and Kieran Butler at the balloon release for Liberty Baker

FRIENDS of teenager Liberty Baker, who was killed on her way to school on Monday, want to plant a rose in her memory.

They say they have found one called the Lady Liberty and plan to plant it around a memorial bench they hope will be donated.

On Thursday night a group of her friends released 50 blue and purple balloons to remember the 14-year-old Henry Box School student, who was killed at about 8am after a car mounted the kerb in Curbridge Road.

Last November, Liberty, from Witney, had been involved in a campaign to save the Witney Hub youth centre, where friends gathered to remember her and release the balloons.

Perry Kerslake, 18, said Liberty would be missed by everyone who knew her.

He said: “We were very close friends. I knew her for a year-and-a-half and she was always smiling and willing to help out.

“She got lots of signatures to save the youth centre, in fact she got more than anyone else. She was always there when you needed her.

“If I had to say one thing which would sum Libety up it would be: ‘Smile and the whole world will smile with you.’ Everyone smiled when she did.”

Nicole Smith, 18, who helped to organise the event, said releasing balloons in Liberty’s favourite colour was a fitting way to remember her.

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She said: “We all got so close to her so quickly and now she has been taken away from us so suddenly.

“The balloon release seemed like the best tribute because the youth centre was important to Liberty and we can release them into the sky here and it’s quite peaceful.

“We’re also planning to plant some flowers in her memory.

“We’ve found a rose called the Lady Liberty and we hope to plant them around the memorial bench which we’re hoping will be donated soon.”

The balloon release is the first in a series of planned memorials.

A Facebook page, with more than 5,800 likes, is petitioning for a memorial at The Henry Box School.

It is being considered by the school and a fundraising event is being held by the Oxfordshire West Foodbank at the pavilion on the Leys on July 28.

An 18-year-old was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and released on police bail until August 10.

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