Mum of Sophie Lancaster dies suddenly after years of campaigning


Sylvia Lancaster spent years campaigning against hate crime and championing people from alternative subcultures (Picture: MEN Media)

Sylvia Lancaster, whose daughter Sophie was murdered for looking like a goth, has died.

Sophie Lancaster, 20, was kicked to death while her boyfriend was badly beaten when the pair were attacked by a ‘feral’ and ‘savage’ group of teenagers in Lancashire in 2007.

The 20-year-old died from her injuries in hospital 13-days after the attack.

Her killer Ryan Herbert, who was 16 at the time, was jailed for life in 2008 and ordered to serve a minimum of 16 years in prison.

Following Sophie’s death, Sylvia spent years campaigning against hate crime and championing people from alternative subcultures.

She set up the Sophie Lancaster Foundation in her daughter’s name and was made an OBE in recognition of her work.

The foundation announced Sylvia’s ‘sudden and unexpected’ death today.

A statement published on the organisation’s website said: ‘It is with great shock and disbelief that we announce that Sylvia Lancaster has passed away.


The mother of Sophie Lancaster, who was murdered in a park aged 20 for being a goth, has died. Sylvia Lancaster had spent the last 15 years championing people from alternative subcultures and creating educational programmes to tackle prejudice and intolerance. Caption: Sylvia Lancaster, mother of Sophie Lancaster

Sylvia Lancaster set up a foundation in her daughter’s name (Picture: MEN Media)

‘She died early this morning in Blackburn hospital. She had suffered from ill health for the last couple of years, but her death was sudden and unexpected.

‘Sylvia had such a powerful life force; we cannot imagine a world without her in it.’

The Foundation said in the wake of Sophie’s death, Sylvia channelled her energy into ‘championing people from alternative subcultures’ and ‘programmes to tackle prejudice and intolerance’.

‘She worked tirelessly to combat the inaccurate and lazy stereotyping that all too often leads to violent prejudice and promoted a culture of celebrating difference; something that leads to safer communities for us all,’ the statement said.


The mother of Sophie Lancaster, who was murdered in a park aged 20 for being a goth, has died. Sylvia Lancaster had spent the last 15 years championing people from alternative subcultures and creating educational programmes to tackle prejudice and intolerance. Caption: Sophie Lancaster

Sophie Lancaster was murdered in a park aged 20 for looking like a goth (Picture: MEN Media)

‘Sylvia was formidable.

‘She challenged authority and fought for what she believed in.

‘Her legacy is that Sophie will never be forgotten, and her daughter’s name will always represent her mission – to Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere.

‘She will be sadly missed.’

Sylvia’s death comes as Herbert, 30, is set to be released from prison after the Parole Board ruled that he has made ‘significant changes to his life’.

Speaking to the Guardian, Sylvia criticised the decision saying she had not been given an explanation and felt ‘ignored’ by the justice system.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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