THE lasting legacy of murdered teenager Shafilea Ahmed will live on in an award set up in her memory.

To recognise the work of schools and colleges to tackle forced marriages, The Shafilea Ahmed Award will honour her memory while celebrating those who go the extra mile to stop other young people suffering the same fate as the Great Sankey teen.

The 17-year-old schoolgirl was killed by her parents in 2003 after they believed she had brought shame on the family.

After suffering years of honour-based violence – including an attempted forced marriage – Shafilea’s parents suffocated her to death in front of her siblings.

Alex Jones, who along with other survivors of forced marriages will decide the winner of the award, said: “Shafilea wanted to be a lawyer but her life ambitions were cruelly denied and life taken from her.

“This award is important in not only further contributing to the memory of Shafilea but by investing in the efforts of those who are challenging social issues.

“It’s pivotal that we give a platform for every young person to speak out about forced marriage, to challenge and change societal mindsets towards it and to empower their peers.

“Activism is the true driving force for enabling social progress and dismantling those barriers that seek to hold others back.”

The award will be officially launched on Shafilea’s birthday on July 14 but the 30-year-old has called on businesses in the town to show their support.

He added: “It’s important to create an award like this because it’s about establishing a platform where young activists take the lead in dismantling forced marriage and honour-based violence, challenge societal attitudes, learn from each other and be the voice for others like Shafilea.

“The students of today will be the police officers, the teachers and the solicitors of tomorrow and it’s important that we engage them in leading social change now.

“I would like to ask for the support of businesses in Warrington in sponsoring the award.”

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