Balloon release marks poignant anniversary of Erith schoolgirl Gemma Rolfe’s death

PUBLISHED: 10:42 21 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:42 21 May 2013

Balloons were released into the sky to remember Gemma Rolfe

Balloons were released into the sky to remember Gemma Rolfe


Dozens of balloons were released into the atmosphere to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Erith schoolgirl Gemma Rolfe.

More than 100 friends, family members and strangers came to pay their respects on Sunday (19).

The 12-year-old was killed when the car she was travelling in with stepdad Dean Robey was hit by a stolen van near the junction between Canada Road and Slade Green Road. The driver of the van has never been caught.

Her mum Janet Robey was delighted with the turnout but wants to keep up the justice campaign now the milestone anniversary has passed.

The 46-year-old said: “I was delighted with how many people gave up their time to come. There was a minute’s silence and when the balloons were released there was a spontaneous round of applause. It was very emotional, I needed a drink afterwards.

“No matter which year it is it’s always incredibly difficult. Nothing can describe the feeling of never being able to hold your child again.”

As well as the Slade Green crowd, Mrs Robey said she had friends all over the country who held their own ceremonies as did Darent Valley Hospital nurse Amanda Fry who was on duty the night Gemma died.

Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce went to the balloon release and wrote to London Mayor Boris Johnson to press for a new Met Police appeal and Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett has also thrown his weight behind the campaign.

The pain never goes away for Janet, Dean, 49, and her 28-year-old son Kye - who struggles to talk about his sister’s death.

Mrs Robey said: “The support of everyone has been amazing but the person responsible is still out there. They need to be caught for us to achieve closure.

“And when they have been we’ll still go down to the place she died on May 19 every year.”

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