A candlelight vigil will be held at Kin Beach Wednesday to remember and honour a Vernon teen’s life that was taken too soon.
Ashley Wadsworth, 19, was stabbed to death in England on Feb. 1 last year by her boyfriend, who she had travelled to the U.K. to meet after the two had started long-distance dating.
Jack Sepple pleaded guilty to her murder last September. He was sentenced to life in prison and will serve a minimum of 23 and a half years in jail.
The murder took place just days before Ashley was going to return home to Vernon.
The vigil will take place on the playground side of Kin Beach Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 5 p.m. Wadsworth’s sister, Hailey, said on Facebook that the vigil will feature poems, songs and a lantern release “for our sweet angel.”
Christy Gendron, Ashley’s mother, said the family has 200 candles for the vigil, and anyone who knew Ashley or the family, or who has been touched by her story, is invited to come and take part.
Gendron will also present attendees with a speech.
“It’s been difficult, it’s been the hardest battle of our lives and will continue to be,” Gendron said of the past year of grieving the loss of Ashley, who was known as a person with strength, courage and a love for travel.
“Over the past year, the waves of grief have gotten a little less, but first I considered them tsunamis. With the support and love of family and friends we’ve gotten through it.”
Beyond commemorating Ashley, Gendron says the vigil is a chance to spread awareness about the perils of domestic violence, especially if the victim is overseas as Ashley was.
“They’re so protected,” Gendron said of perpetrators in the U.K., noting that Clare’s Law allows the public to access records of individuals with a violent history through the police station, something she’d wish she’d known about earlier.
Gendron said before her daughter’s death, the family had suspicions about Sepple to the point that they had booked a flight for her to come home.
“That’s the most dangerous time,” Gendron said, referring to the time when a domestic violence victim is about to leave the relationship.
“If anyone is going through this or they’re hearing from their loved one especially overseas, if they’re saying it’s fine it’s probably not, just escort them, get a cop to go over there and escort them out, make sure they get to a safe place.”
Gendron hopes the vigil will be a chance to celebrate Ashley’s generous spirit.
“Ashley lived her life wanting to help him (Sepple), and it cost her her life but that’s who she was,” she said. “She liked the idea of helping others so if her story can spread peace and love and awareness and save someone else then I think at least something good came of it.”