For 20 years, Sylvia Lancaster has been working to make sure her daughter’s legacy.
Sophie was simply 20 when died after being brutally attacked by a gang of teenage thugs in a Lancashire park.
It was against the law that shocked the nation and left an indelible mark on the Rossendale city the place Sophie grew up.
Sophie’s household, prosecutors and police insist she died just because she regarded completely different.
This week, Coronation Road aired upsetting scenes which mirror the assault on Sophie and her boyfriend Robert Maltby 14 years in the past.
Standard characters Nina Lucas and Seb Franklin had been violently assaulted by a gang throughout scenes aired on Wednesday night time (Might 5).
Followers of the present had been horrified by the scenes.
However Sylvia hopes the storyline – watched by hundreds of thousands – can have a serious impression on how folks view these from different subcultures.
“I feel it’s already making a distinction as a result of I’ve learn the feedback about Nina,” Sylvia says.
(Picture: Each day Mirror)
“Folks don’t solely see the individual she exhibits the world she is, in addition they see the actual individual beneath that and I feel that’s actually vital and might change folks’s attitudes. In order that’s large.”
Over time The Sophie Lancaster Basis – the charity Sylvia based within the wake of her daughter’s loss of life – has been approached quite a few instances by TV and movie corporations.
Many have requested to make use of Sophie’s story however Sylvia says it hasn’t felt proper.
With Coronation Road, she hopes the difficulty of hate crime will get the viewers it deserves.
“The message must be proper,” Sylvia says.
“It must be achieved in a manner that’s optimistic and I consider, speaking to the folks at Corrie, that it is going to be.”
Sylvia has met with Corrie producers, permitted scripts and met the actress taking part in Sophie because the workforce labored to inform the story in essentially the most acceptable manner.
Sophie, she says, would have discovered it very unusual to consider herself being portrayed on the present.
The mum and daughter used to observe Corrie collectively when Sophie was a woman.
“She beloved the character Spider, the way in which he dressed and what he stood for,” she says.
“We at all times thought she would convey somebody like him residence.”
In August, it is going to be 14 years since Sophie’s loss of life
Sylvia has used each second of that point to attempt to make modifications to how hate crime is tackled.
A lot of the Basis’s work revolves round schooling, with Sylvia presenting at colleges, schools and prisons to problem perceptions of individuals in subcultures.
“Kids are wonderful and it’s a privilege to have the ability to go into colleges and do that work with them. You possibly can see plenty of them have by no means even thought of it,” she says.
“And I do know it makes a distinction. We had been doing one thing in Halifax and went into this cafe and the lady serving us mentioned ‘I do know precisely who you’re, my son was in one in every of your shows’.
“She mentioned he got here residence and advised her all about it they usually had an enormous dialogue which was so uncommon for him. So I do know it really works.”
When the pandemic hit, the charity’s work round colleges and music festivals needed to cease. However they’ve been busy all yr working to replace the web site, revamping schooling packs and piloting on-line academic programmes, to verify the work continues regardless of colleges being closed.
The charity was awarded £55,000 from the Coronavirus Group Assist Fund to assist them develop new methods of working. It was a lifeline throughout a yr which hit charities exhausting.
“Final yr was very troublesome,” Sylvia says. “Thank God we bought that cash.”
“We bought the lockdown and that was all our work gone – no colleges, no festivals.
“However we’ve been actually busy all through digitising all the pieces and we’ve bought a brand new web site that got here on-line final week.
“I’ve missed talking to folks nose to nose although. To me that’s a very powerful factor.
“We have now had younger folks come to us and say they’ve been in that troublesome place, or they’ve focused somebody different they usually wouldn’t do it once more. So it really works on so many ranges.”
Over time Sylvia and her small workforce have made nice strides in direction of change.
In 2013 Higher Manchester Police turned the primary pressure in England to document and monitor hate crimes and incidents towards folks from different subcultures.
One other 17 forces have since adopted swimsuit to document hate crime on this manner.
However there may be nonetheless a protracted solution to go.
The Legislation Fee is at present re-evaluating hate crime laws and as such, Sylvia put ahead a proposal to ask if hate crime referring to folks from different subcultures could possibly be included within the proposed modifications.
“What they’re arguing is there’s not sufficient knowledge and figures,” Sylvia says.
“I used to be gutted to be trustworthy. However we’ve to hold on and see what we will do.”
Sylvia says hate crime towards different subcultures remains to be prevalent.
“It’s fascinating speaking to Mollie, who performs Nina. She’s pretty and she or he’s truly fairly different herself.
“She lives in Manchester and says she’s by no means actually seen any prejudice. It’s not seen as fairly as unusual because it may be in Bacup.
“However we’ve achieved work in colleges in Manchester and it’s been fairly apparent that prejudice has been happening and they’ll inform me so.
“You possibly can inform the work that has been achieved in colleges on sexuality, race and faith as a result of the children know to not discriminate in that manner. That’s taken many years to instil in them.
“However what we’re seeing is that they are going to goal options as they don’t know they’re not speculated to.
“So they are going to nonetheless stick it to the options. It simply takes time.”
Each change Sylvia and the Basis have made has been an uphill battle, however they’ve made loads of progress.
Sylvia hopes the Coronation Road storyline will shine a lightweight on a problem she feels is as vital as ever earlier than.
“I feel we’ve stayed true to ourselves as a charity through the years,” she says. “We have now caught with what we initially meant to do.
“And we hold going.”