A charity helping Alesha MacPhail’s family has revealed a poignant tribute to the murdered six-year-old.
Her mum Georgina Lochrane is to help develop a counselling room at the new home of Family and Friends Against Murder and Suicide (FAMS) in Motherwell.
Six-year-old Alesha was killed by Aaron Campbell, 16, while she visited her dad and grandparents on the Isle of the Bute last summer.
Georgina, 24, told STV News it took her months to find the right support and how she has now found strength from her involvement with FAMS.
She said: “FAMS now have their own building. They have their own rooms, one of the counselling rooms they are going to create in memory of Alesha.
“It’s amazing. I’m so excited about that and I’m definitely going to be doing my training and hopefully soon I’ll be working alongside them as a volunteer and can help people.”
Now in their new premises, FAMS’ aim is to create calm and welcoming surroundings.
Georgina, from Airdrie, is helping to appeal for donations, sponsors and decorators and it’s hoped schoolchildren will help transform Alesha’s room.
The new centre in Motherwell will be named Paul Gerard McGilvray’s Lighthouse in memory of the murdered son of one of the charity’s founders.
Two other families affected by suicide will also have rooms dedicated to their loved ones.
All of FAMS’ members have personal experience and some are bereaved parents or siblings.
They are trained to become a befriender to help people dealing with a loss or suicidal thoughts and behaviour.
Among them is Pamela Youngson, whose brother Alan was murdered almost six years ago. She told how lonely she felt following his death.
“The police family liaison workers were brilliant, but that was only during the trial,” she said.
“The rest of time, which is so vast, is a long time to be alone in a very dark place.
“I didn’t need trauma therapy at the start – I just needed someone to sit with me and say ‘you’re going to get through this and everything you are feeling right now is completely normal and it’s ok’.”
Others in this group have also been affected by a loved one’s suicide. They say with the training comes a greater understanding of their own loss.
Amy McCluskey said: “To lose someone in circumstances like that, it’s something that will probably stay with me forever.
“It has definitely changed me as a person but it’s made me want to help other people, I want to use that. You never want people to feel like that alone.
“By doing the befriender scheme, you’re able to use what you’ve learned along with training from FAMS to help people to may be make their situation better.”
She added: “I think straight away as soon as I started the FAMS, I felt like the support was there.
“They were a family and made me welcome straight away. If you ever needed anyone to talk to, their support was there.”
If you have been affected by these issues, you can contact FAMS on 07736 326062.