Brianna Ghey: Mum of teen trans girl killed in park says daughter’s death ‘cannot be for nothing’

The mum of Brianna Ghey, the teenage trans girl tragically killed in a park, has launched a fundraiser for a mindfulness charity in her daughter’s memory, telling PinkNews her death “cannot be for nothing”. 

Esther Ghey is raising money for the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), a charity which provides mindfulness training to schools and aims to make a positive difference to the mental health and wellbeing of pupils. 

Ghey, along with her partner Wes Powell, will take part in Great North Swim on 10 June.  

The pair picked up wild swimming as a hobby in lockdown, which many participants claim has huge mental and physical benefits. They wanted to push themselves with this fundraiser, both to inspire others and raise money in memory of Brianna. 

The lives of the family were shattered on 11 February when the 16-year-old from Birchwood was found dead in Culcheth Linear Park in Culcheth, Warrington with multiple stab wounds. 

Four days after Brianna’s death, two 15-year-olds – a boy and a girl who cannot be named for legal reasons – were charged with the trans teen’s murder. 

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A trial is expected to take place at Manchester Crown Court in November.  

There is still ‘good and love’ in the world

Esther Ghey explained to PinkNews that she is raising money for MiSP because prior to Brianna’s death, she was “very much into mindfulness” and meditated daily, which in turn Esther believes helped her cope after the tragic loss of her daughter. 

Mindfulness, she explained, helped her to be able to sit with her emotions, feel them and then let them go, as well as still being able to see “the beauty that is in the world” and “not to lose sight of that in the hard times”. 

“Even though this has happened, there’s so much good; everybody who organised the vigils, went to the vigils, everybody that’s donating towards the charities and even the GoFundMe page,” Brianna’s mother said.

“I really, really appreciate that and it just shows how much good and love is actually in the world.”

Esther Ghey and her partner Wes Powell will take on the Great North Swim in memory of Brianna (Supplied)

At Brianna’s funeral, the family had the choice of donations to a charity or flowers, and they chose donations to MiSP. 

“Because of my experience with mindfulness, I thought ‘I want other people to have this experience’, to be able to build this mental resilience and a feeling of wellbeing in themselves,” she said.  

“Further to that, children nowadays have it so difficult, they’ve got the internet, pressures at school, pressures in society, social media. 

“I want them to have this mental resilience as well and also empathy towards themselves. 

“If they have empathy towards themselves, they should have empathy towards other people and be a little bit more understanding of how other people are.”  

She added because Brianna was a trans youngster, she feels “if everybody else was maybe a little bit more empathetic then things like this wouldn’t happen in the future”.  

Brianna was just 16 at the time of her death (Supplied)

Alongside this, she explained that Brianna struggled with her mental health and so she is keen to support mindfulness in schools because it could help pupils develop strategies to look after themselves. 

“It could potentially be a prevention rather than a cure,” she said.

“If we help people with mental resilience, that could potentially stop the need for further intervention further down the line.”

Recalling the horrific, transphobic trolling Brianna’s tribute page faced in the wake of her death, the mum added that it made her “want to push for mindfulness even more” and it “just strengthens my cause”. 

In terms of what the money can achieve, £775 trains one teacher in mindfulness in a school, enabling them to support pupils with a toolbox of approaches. 

As well as pupils, teachers – who are under huge pressures in terms of targets and the on-going educational impacts of lockdown – can also benefit from the training. 

Esther Ghey embraced the public support ‘for Brianna’

Esther Ghey said 20 schools in Warrington have already expressed interest in the cause following Brianna’s death, which she says “shocked” the local community. 

“You don’t really think that this sort of thing will happen, obviously to our family and to somebody in your community,” she continued. 

When national media attention was focussed on the family after the news broke, and subsequent vigils around the UK started to be planned, Ghey said she initially did not want the situation to play out like that as what was happening was extremely personal to the family.  

However, when her other daughter showed her the sheer number of vigils being set up, some of which took place in the US and Australia, she embraced the support from the wider public because “Brianna would have loved that”. 

She jokingly told PinkNews Brianna “absolutely loved attention” and so would have been “buzzing from it”. 

“That’s why I’ve started to embrace that too, for Brianna,” the mum explained. 

Brianna and her sister Alisha. (Supplied)

Urging people to support their fundraising, Ghey said: “Something in our society needs to change. 

“If we can teach our children mental resilience and empathy towards themselves and others, then that’s probably the greatest gift that we could ever give them and our society.  

“They’re our next generation that are going to looking after our world.”

You can donate to Esther Ghey and Wes Powell’s Great North Swim fundraiser here.

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