Tributes paid following unexpected death of anti-hate charity founder

Tributes are being paid to Sylvia Lancaster who set up anti-hate charity the Sophie Lancaster Foundation following the murder of her daughter.

Her daughter Sophie died after she and her boyfriend were attacked in a park in Lancashire in 2007 because they were dressed like ‘goths’.

Sylvia founded the Foundation shortly afterwards to tackle prejudice and intolerance and was appointed an OBE for her campaigning work as chief executive of the Foundation.

In a statement the Foundation said that although Sylvia has been in ill health her death was “unexpected”.

“Sylvia had such a powerful life force; we cannot imagine a world without her in it,” said the charity.

“Sophie was formidable,” added the charity’s statement.

“She challenged authority and fought for what she believed in. Her legacy is that Sophie will never be forgotten and her daughter’s name will always represent her mission – to stamp out prejudice, hatred and intolerance everywhere.”

Among others to pay tribute to Sylvia is the broadcaster Jeremy Vine, who had interviewed her last week.

Another is music journalist John Robb, who described Sylvia as “a remarkable woman”.

“Thrown into an unwanted limelight by the tragic death of her daughter Sophie who was murdered by a gang in her local park because she looked like a ‘Goth’ she started a campaign to change the law and meaning of a hate crime and made the world a better place,” he added.

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