‘HER memory will be in the hearts of many’.
Those were the poignant words of tragic teenager Lydia Taylor’s mum Lisa as she unveiled a memorial bench on what would have been her daughter’s 19th birthday.
Hundreds of bikers, family and friends gathered in front of Knott End cafe, where the former Saint Aidan’s Technology College pupil worked and made many of her close friends.
Lisa, from Stalmine, fought back tears as she paid tribute to her daughter, who died after she was thrown from her boyfriend’s motorbike in a crash on Rawcliffe Road, Out Rawcliffe, last August. She said: “Lydia was lovable – often hyper with an exuberance for life. Confident, outgoing and fiercely protective of the people she knew - many of whom she met while working here.
“I would like to thank the people who have contributed to make tonight – what would have been her 19th birthday - possible.
“The bikers, whose idea it was, St Aidan’s, especially deputy headteacher Anthony Lord, and also my family and friends.
“Special thanks to Steve and Jean Taylor who own Knott End Cafe and have generously given permission for this bench in the grassy mound that Lydia sat on every Wednesday for Bikers Night.
“It is a real comfort to me to know how cherished she was and how she touched so many lives.
“She would be smiling now knowing the bench will be keeping memories of her alive in the hearts of many.”
The crowd clapped as a ribbon around the bench - which featured a plaque with Lydia’s name and tribute ‘Rockin’ in Paradise’ – was cut by Simon Wilson, who co-ordinated the fundraising for the bench.
Mr Wilson, 24, from North Shore, said: “She was one of my best friends.
“Everything about her was special. We think about her all the time, but especially on her birthday.”