A candlelight vigil was held in Brianna Ghey’s home village, near where the 16-year-old was stabbed to death last weekend, as an appeal to raise money for her family topped £100,000.
Brianna, 16, a transgender girl, was found with fatal stab wounds in a park near Warrington on Saturday afternoon. A boy and a girl, both aged 15, have been charged with the “extremely brutal and punishing” killing and are due to stand trial in July.
Police said Brianna’s family had been overwhelmed by public support following vigils across the UK.
Hundreds of people gathered at Culcheth village green in Warrington, Cheshire, on Friday night to remember the teenager.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, who attended with his daughter Annie, tweeted: “Here to remember Brianna, send our love to her family and our support to young trans people everywhere.”
Many of the well-wishers wore ‘rest in power Brianna Ghey’ T-shirts, while the crowd also sang Over the Rainbow.
Tricia Anderton, 59, secretary of Culcheth Village Choir, said: “We are a very close-knit community in Culcheth, with many of our choir members having lived in the village for many years and this awful tragedy has touched everyone’s hearts .
“We were specifically asked to sing Over the Rainbow and it was so great to hear everyone join in.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Brianna’s family and friends.”
Members of the public also gathered outside the Hippodrome theater in Birmingham, while other vigils were held in Southampton, Nottingham and Edinburgh.
Further memorial services are planned to take place over the weekend, including another in Warrington on Saturday afternoon.
A fundraising page set up four days ago for Brianna’s family topped £100,000 on Friday, with donations from more than 6,400 people far exceeding the original target of £4,216 to help pay for the funeral.
Victoria Potter, who helped set up the GoFundMe page, described Brianna as an “outgoing, confident girl” who had died in “the most shocking and heartbreaking way”.
He wrote on the page: “[Brianna] she brought much laughter to those who knew her. She was looking forward to taking her exams this year and starting her journey into the adult world.
“We have created this page to help the family through this truly devastating time. We need your support to help them with funeral expenses (we want to make this pink and colorful to match her personality) and ask if you can donate anything however small to try and ease their stress and allow them to mourn their beautiful daughter. “
Cheshire Police launched a murder investigation after Brianna was found with fatal stab wounds on a path in Culcheth Linear Park at 3.13pm on Saturday.
DCI Adam Waller, the senior investigating officer, said the force had been inundated with information from people around the park where Brianna died.
He added: “Many of our officers have reached out to offer their best wishes to us and, in particular, to Brianna’s family. I know the family have also been overwhelmed by the messages of support, positivity and compassion from across the country and beyond – and the thoughts of everyone at the police department remain firmly with them.”
In a tribute issued after Brianna’s death, her family said the teenager was a “much loved daughter, granddaughter and sister”.