Melton schoolchildren have created a special memorial for former pupil Leah Reek, who was tragically killed in an explosion earlier this year.
Pupils at Long Field Academy brought their own padlocks in and wrote special messages of hope on them before attaching them to a gate at the school.
Leah, who was 18, died in February when a blast ripped through a Leicester shop and the flat above it.
Her mother, Joanne, and sister, Molly, were in school yesterday (Thursday) to see the new memorial taking shape.
Long Field head teacher Chris Haggett said he wanted to keep Leah’s memory alive for future generations of students.
The padlocks were attached to a gate leading to the sports field on the last day of term.
They were engraved with moving handwritten messages with one saying simply ‘Leah you made such a difference’.
Mr Haggett told the Melton Times: “I’ve walked across a bridge in West Bridgford where they have done something similar and they have also done the same thing on a bridge in Paris.
“We wanted to do something a bit different for Leah because she was a bit quirky and a special student.
“We didn’t want to just plant a tree or install a bench so we thought it would be nice for students to bring in their own padlocks and write messages of hope in memory of Leah.”
Leah, who lived with her family in Asfordby, was killed alongside her boyfriend, Shane Ragoobeer, his mother, Mary, and brother, Sean, plus shop worker Viktorija Ljevleva.
Leah, who would have been 19 on July 17, had been a volunteer worker with the Leicestershire hospice charity, LOROS, and was hoping to use the experience to support her studies in health and social care at Loughborough College.
Her voluntary work led to her being nominated for the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire’s ‘young volunteer of the year’ award.
Long Field Academy said after her death was announced that Leah was a ‘fondly remembered’ student and added in a statement: “Leah was an incredibly friendly, proactive and bubbly character who was really popular amongst her peers and staff alike.”
Three men have been charged with offences connected to the explosion and are remanded in custody until a court hearing next month.