The family of Cassie Hayes, who was brutally murdered a year ago, paid an emotional tribute to their ‘beautiful girl’ at a charity walk in her memory in Alnwick on Saturday.
Around 60 walkers set off from the Shepherd’s Rest on Alnwick Moor for a six-mile hike to mark the anniversary of the death of the 28-year-old, whose throat was slit by Andrew Burke as she worked at the Southport branch of travel agents Tui.
Her devastated sister Nadine, 34, and mum Tracy, 54, organised the walk to remember Cassie and to raise money for the charities that have helped them through their ordeal in the past 12 months.
Nadine told the Gazette: “This was for our beautiful girl Cass. We also wanted to thank the charities Victim Support and ABTA Lifeline, who have both have given us outstanding support this past difficult year.
“Cassie was so well liked and loved. She means the world to us and so many others.
“Cass will always live in our hearts. It means so much to do a positive thing for her.”
Tracy, now of Ryton, Gateshead, said: “There was a really good turn-out for the walk and a fantastic atmosphere, but it was also really emotional.
“Lots of people had travelled up from Southport, including Cassie’s colleagues from Tui.
“It was a lovely day and lots of fun and I am really grateful to everyone who came.”
Among those walking were Cassie’s daughter Ruby, five, her grandmother Laura Fife, 83, nephew Leon, two, and niece Daisy, five.
The two customers who Cassie was serving when she was murdered also travelled from Southport to take part in the hike.
Cassie, assistant manager at the shop in Merseyside, was attacked by the ex-partner of her girlfriend Laura Williams on January 13 last year.
Burke, 31, of St Helen’s, Merseyside, who later pleaded guilty to murder and possession of an offensive weapon at Liverpool Crown Court, was locked up for life with a minimum of 26 years last April.
Cassie, a former Duchess’s Community High School pupil, was brought home to be laid to rest on January 26, next to her father in Alnwick cemetery.
Mourners were asked to wear a touch of yellow – Cassie’s favourite colour – and that request was repeated for Saturday’s memory walk. The event was started with a release of yellow balloons.
Tracy, a care assistant, added: “The past year has been incredibly difficult for the whole family and we are still very much coming to terms with Cassie’s death.
“We all miss her immensely and her death still feels very recent.
“But I am happy we were able to do something so positive in her memory.”
The walkers raised in excess of £2,000 for the charities, with funds still being counted.
Nadine, a support worker, said many memories of her sister had been shared: “It was such a positive day. Cass would of been so proud of us all.
“Cassie was head strong and so beautiful and now we need to carry on with Cass in our hearts just as she would like us to.
“We are so proud of her. She loved her job as assistant manager at Tui – Cass could sell anything, she had the right personality for her job, outgoing and fun, and always had a smile on her face.”
Nadine praised the company for their support since the horrific attack last January.
“Tui have been amazing with us as a family, also proving what a loyal, valued member of the team she was. Her work friends, who are now family, have been by our sides throughout.”
Cassie’s Southport workmates, including regional manager Dwayne McFarlane, sent the family a message: “Cass was more than a colleague, she was our friend. She was so caring and would always be there for you if you ever needed her. She was so funny and loved to make people laugh. We would like to thank everyone for their support for Cassie’s memory walk, it was a great day to remember our special friend who is loved and missed by us all xx’
Nadine thanked all those who had donated and took part in the walk.
“I want to thank everyone who helped us put our day together. Thank you also to TUI who have given us amazing support, and to the TUI girls and regional manager Dwayne.
“We are grateful to everyone from Alnwick and Southport who have been by our side throughout this nightmare.
“Thank you to Susan Martin for letting us do our walk from her pub, the Shepherd’s Rest. And a big thank-you to our amazing family and friends.
“Thank you to Sharon at Wild for Love for organising the balloons.”
“Our aim now is to keep Cassie’s name going and carry on as strong as we can be for her.
“We want to make this an annual event in her name.”
Nadine has set up a JustGiving page for donations. Visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nadine-hayes