ESTHER Ghey is the mother of Brianna Ghey, who was murdered at the age of 16 in Culcheth on February 11 last year.

Writing exclusively for the Warrington Guardian, Esther reflects on losing her daughter, and building a legacy that Brianna would be proud of.

On February 11, my life was turned to shatters after hearing that my daughter, Brianna, had been murdered.

It is now coming up to the anniversary of my child’s death and I wanted to share with you how such a crime has impacted my family’s life, and what I have done to cope with the most traumatic event that I have ever experienced.

Warrington Guardian: Brianna was just 16 when she was killed last yearBrianna was just 16 when she was killed last year (Image: Esther Ghey)

The first few months were the hardest to deal with. I was in a constant daze, and I struggled to believe that Brianna wasn’t coming back.

As a family, we were lucky to have friends around us who offered support and shared our grief.

The vigils that were held in Warrington, and across the nation in honour of Brianna, made me realise that our society still has community spirit and in a time of need we come together to show solidarity and empathy.

This was of great comfort to me.

Throughout 2023, I was on a continuous healing journey, and I have now accepted that Brianna is not coming home, but it gives me solace to think that she is in a better place.

I see signs that I believe are her letting me know that she is at peace, such as the fantastic cherry blossom blooms that we had in spring, the pink sky that appeared on her birthday, and the unusual rainbow clouds we saw when the trial ended.

Warrington Guardian: Two 16-year-olds have been found guilty of Brianna's murderTwo 16-year-olds have been found guilty of Brianna's murder (Image: Esther Ghey)

Something that has helped me to gain some positivity and hope, has been the campaign which I have been running with the Warrington Guardian.

This was brought about after I completed the Great North Swim to raise money for the Mindfulness in Schools Project - I sought the support of the Warrington Guardian to raise awareness of the swim, which they helped with.

Furthermore, Tom Bedworth, community reporter at the Warrington Guardian, suggested starting a joint campaign. I knew that I wanted to do something but didn’t know where to start, this was a perfect opportunity to join forces and make a change in Warrington.

The reason I’m so passionate about improving the mental health and well-being of young people is because I have seen Brianna suffer.

During the pandemic, her mental health deteriorated, she was living her life in an online world and became socially isolated.

She became drawn to the negative side of social media. As a result, she began restricting her eating until she was hospitalised. She was also suffering from anxiety, and she was self-harming.

I know from talking to other parents that many young people are suffering the same way that Brianna did, and something needs to change.

Warrington Guardian: The Peace in Mind campaign is a joint venture between Esther Ghey and the Warrington GuardianThe Peace in Mind campaign is a joint venture between Esther Ghey and the Warrington Guardian (Image: Newsquest)

When I was in my 20s I struggled with depression and anxiety. I know from experience that lifestyle along with what the mind consumes has a massive impact on mental health.

A daily mindfulness practice has helped to improve my outlook on life, it has taught me self-compassion and strengthened my empathy towards others. I want other people to have the opportunity to experience the benefits that I have felt from incorporating mindfulness into my life.

I have been overwhelmed with the support our campaign has received from schools, parents, and Warrington businesses.

We have the backing of the Warrington Wolves and the Warrington Wolves Charitable Foundation. We also have the support of Warrington Borough Council, Charlotte Nichols MP, and Andy Carter MP.

Our campaign's fundraiser has a £50,000 target, and this will help to pay for a teacher from every school in Warrington to be trained in mindfulness practices; skills they can pass on to their students.

This will improve the well-being of teachers and students, as well as increase empathy, focus and mental resilience among other benefits.

Warrington Guardian: The campaign kicked off in September last yearThe campaign kicked off in September last year (Image: Newsquest)

Looking forward to 2024, I am in the process of setting up a community interest company, which will launch at the end of January.

I have decided to dedicate the rest of my life's work to improving the lives of others.

One thing I have learnt from Brianna’s murder is that life is far too short to suffer.

If I had the knowledge that I have now when Brianna was younger, I might have been able to give her the tools she needed to build mental fitness, and she wouldn’t have suffered so much as a teenager.

I don’t have the opportunity to go back and help Brianna, but if I can use my experience to help others and keep Brianna’s memory alive in doing so, this will keep me going.

For more information about the Peace in Mind campaign, or to donate, use this link: