By Józef Łopuszyński
A garden created in memory of the schoolgirl who was stabbed on a bus on her way to school, was opened by former England Rugby Star Phil Vickery.
The Amanda Edkins Memorial Garden at St Edmund's Catholic School, Birmingham, was also blessed by Emeritus Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham Bishop Pargeter in the presence of members of Christina's family
At the start of the event, Headteacher Mary O’Friel said, “When we received the tragic news of the loss of Christina last March, we wanted to create a permanent memorial to this caring and talented past pupil. “
“Pupils will benefit from this garden in so many ways. It encourages community cohesion with our after-school gardening club. It encourages a healthier lifestyle tending to the garden, growing fruits and vegetables that they will then harvest to cook and eat, therefore giving the opportunity for the children to learn in a more practical way.”
International Rugby Star Phil Vickery spoke very movingly about the poignancy of the occasion.
“With the obvious sadness of this occasion, to the name of Christina, I still feel extremely proud . And to see her mum and dad here today, I think shows a tremendous amount of courage from them, but also a huge amount of dignity, because I think we all feel a huge amount of responsibility for that sad news.”
Then saying “I officially open the garden,” he unveiled a plaque in honour of the memory of Christina.
I spoke to Christina’s Great-Uncle Chris Melia who told me, “I’m speaking on behalf of the family who’ve come here today to see something which they’ve known about for some time, have been delighted at the prospect of, and are absolutely bowled over by the facility that’s been added here for the children to learn about growing and cultivating.”
“But even more so for the Memory Garden which is dedicated to Christina and will perpetuate her memory for as long as the school has pupils.”
At the end of the Opening Ceremony, children from the school released balloons into the sky.