College pays tribute to tragic Ellen Higginbottom with new memorial garden

The memorial garden for Ellen Higginbottom at Winstanley College
The memorial garden for Ellen Higginbottom at Winstanley College

A murdered Wigan student has been immortalised by a new memorial garden.


And on Friday a poignant opening ceremony was held at Winstanley College almost exactly a year to the day since Ellen Higginbottom was killed.

The 18-year-old was on her way home from the college, last June 16, when she was fatally attacked in Orrell Water Park.

Worried relatives raised the alarm after she failed to return and a police search led to the discovery of her body at the beauty spot in the early hours of the next morning.

She was the only child of Mike and Kay Higginbottom and further tragedy has since struck the family when Ellen’s mum succumbed to a long-term illness.

Mr Higginbottom was not expected to be in attendance at what college chiefs described as a “low key” event although members of the public were invited to pay their respects at the ceremony.

Ellen’s family worked closely with the college to create the garden, something which they say nature-lover Ellen would have treasured.

A slate sourced from Honister in the Lake District, a place much beloved by the Higginbottom family, has been placed at the heart of the garden with an inscription which reads: “There grows an unseen garden, deep-rooted in her beauty, love and kindness."

A bright young woman with a strong personality, the college says Ellen was popular with fellow students and staff across many different areas of college.

She is fondly remembered as a “singing scientist” who took part in a number of college productions, most notably at The Wigan Youth Zone.

Principal Louise Tipping said: “Ellen is missed every day. We felt that a garden inspired by her that will bloom and grow over time is a fitting tribute.

"We hope that the garden will provide a tranquil setting where students and staff members alike can think, reflect and benefit from some peace and quiet.”

Another garden has also been taking shape at Orrell Water Park too, where Mr Higginbottom and community leaders unveiled a memorial bench to Ellen in March.