‘Happy birthday Katie’ – hundreds release balloons on the day she would have been eight years old

Katie's parents Paul and Alison Rough are comforted by Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, before a balloon release in memory of Katie. Photographs: YorkMix
16 Jan 2017 @ 6.04 pm
| News

The community came together this afternoon (Monday) to mark Katie Rough’s eighth birthday.

A week after the tragic events that shocked the York and far beyond, family, friends and well wishers gathered at Westfield Park.

Katie’s parents Paul and Alison, were comforted by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu at the event, held next door to Westfield Primary School where Katie was a pupil.

‘Kind thoughts’

People write their messages to Katie

A statement from the family said:

The family wish to let everyone know that we are grateful to the community for coming together to celebrate Katie’s birthday.

They are also thankful for all the donations that have been made of the kind thoughts they have received over the last week.

A crowdfunding campaign for the family has raised nearly £24,000.

Young and old queued up to write personal messages to Katie, who died on January 9 after being found in a field behind Alness Drive in Woodthorpe with serious injuries.

The messages were were attached to 200 biodegradable balloons.

On the stroke of 4pm, as the crowd sang happy birthday, they were released into the sky.

Katie’s family gathered at Westfield Park
Paul and Alison Rough
Both a colourful and a sombre occasion
Hundreds gathered to mark Katie’s birthday
The community came together
The balloons are released
A beautiful tribute
The community leaves after the balloon release