THE family of Rastrick teenager Shannen Harker are marking what would have been her 18th birthday by raising money for a charity close to their hearts.
Shannen was 15 when she was killed in a car accident at Birkby Lane, Bailiff Bridge, on August 6, 2008.
Her father, Stephen Rushworth, who was driving, also died.
Every year her family and friends mark the anniversary with a fundraising event to not only remember the vibrant teenager but also to raise money for the Joseph Salmon Trust, which has provided the family with endless support.
Mum Kirsty Knowles said: “We didn’t know about The Joseph Salmon Trust when Shannen died until Richard, my husband, was given a number for the charity through work.
“We organised the funeral ourselves but we wanted a nice headstone, somewhere we could go to, but we knew we wouldn’t have the money.
“We were quoted around £3,000 for the headstone we wanted because we wanted it to be fitting for her.
“For a while we didn’t contact the trust and tried to save up the cash ourselves.
“Eventually we rang them and they were so helpful. With their support we were able to get the full headstone we wanted,” she said.
“When you are going through something like that it is really comforting to go to somewhere like the grave, which is in Rastrick Cemetery.
“It did take me a while to find the right words to contact the trust and let them go ahead with the arrangements because it is a lasting tribute so you want it to be right.”
Kirsty said the family didn’t have savings and had a lot of financial constraints which made it difficult to purchase the headstone, as well as giving Shannen the funeral she deserved.
“I want to highlight the charity and the good work it does. I want to encourage people who knew her to donate to the trust so it can carry on its work.
“Without the help from the trust we might still be waiting for a headstone. It has helped so many other families. I see this as giving something back.
“I don’t think I will ever repay the charity for what it has done for us.”
The trust was set up by a Huddersfield couple whose three-year-old son Joseph died from pneumonia in 2005.
They set up the charity because they felt families needed more support at a time of loss.
The charity helps families who have lost children pay for the funeral and other related costs.
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/Shannen-Harker or text the amount followed by CDHM85 to 70070