Schoolgirl's honour for bee keyrings
A schoolgirl who wanted to do something to help after the Manchester Arena bombing has received an award from counter-terrorism police.
Lydia Melling, 13, has been recognised for her hard work making bee keyrings and selling them to raise thousands of pounds for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.
They have proved to be a massive success and she is on her way to selling 10,000 keyrings.
Now Lydia has received an award from Det Ch Supt Russ Jackson, from Counter-Terrorism Policing North West.
A letter sent via her headteacher congratulated everyone at Standish High School for the "highly sought-after" trinkets, with a special mention for Lydia and others.
He wrote: "To produce and sell 4,000 is a major achievement and demonstrates the true spirit of the people of Greater Manchester.
"On behalf of all of my officers, I would like to pass on our heartfelt thanks."
The letter was accompanied by an award, which was presented to Lydia at school on Friday.
Her mum Sarah, from Haigh, said: "I actually cried when she got it. It was very moving. All of them together have done something truly amazing. It was a very proud moment."
Mrs Melling and Lydia were at the Ariana Grande concert when the bomb exploded, but fortunately they escaped unhurt.
Afterwards, Lydia teamed up with art teacher Joanne Della Cerra and other members of the school to make the bee keyrings and raise money for the appeal.
Mrs Melling said: "They expected to sell a couple of hundred through school and it’s ended up with everybody asking where they can get one from. We are going to be up to nearly 10,000 in the space of a few weeks. I think it’s because it’s so close to everybody’s heart."
Lydia said: "I’m overwhelmed and surprised. It’s really good."
The keyrings were initially made at the school, but Atlas Plastics in Leigh then got involved to help with production.
Lydia’s father Chris runs Westwood Motor Group in Ince and donated £1,000 to produce 5,000 keyrings, while United Rental Group gave £350.
The keyrings continue to be in huge demand, with 1,000 being delivered to Greater Manchester Police’s forensics team and Wigan Athletic in coming days.
Santander has ordered 5,000 keyrings to sell in several branches and will double the money raised.
Wigan Council and small businesses selling the keyrings have also asked for more.
The keyrings cost £1 and are available from many locations, including Wigan Town Hall, Wigan Life Centre, Wigan Leisure Centre and libraries and leisure centres across the borough.