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NewsBriefs: Amidst the sadness and tears there was a sense of hope ... HOW GEE WALKER FOUND SOLACE IN ALL THE THANK-YOU CARDS.

Byline: By MARY MURTAGH

IN HER saddest hour they brought comfort.

The words of strangers scribbled in sympathy cards, letters and condolence cards gave Gee Walker solace.

What started as a steady trickle of messages from friends and neighbours turned into an avalanche of post from around the world.

Now eight months after her son Anthony's murder Gee is saying thank you.

She has written an open letter to everyone who supported her family in the aftermath of Anthony's death.

She said: "I felt very supported and still do. I would have fallen apart without everyone's help. I knew that people genuinely cared about me and my family and that helped me face another day.

"Amidst the sadness and tears there was a sense of hope. There are a lot of very good people out there. Some of them probably agonised over whether they should or shouldn't send me a card and I just wanted to say how glad I am that they did.

"Lots of people wrote that they had never done this before but felt prompted to write because of Anthony. I wanted to say thank you to those brave enough to give it a go.

"I still wish he was here with me but Anthony's life touched so many people in such a remarkable way. I have had letters from people who said they found it hard to forgive and that what happened has changed their lives.

"They have written to say thank you to me. That has given me so much hope because I know that Anthony's life, and death, has definitely not been in vain."

The messages of solidarity and words of comfort came in their thousands.

Every day since Anthony's death Gee has received an email, card or letter from someone moved by her son's death and her forgiveness of his killers.

They range from a brief note on a bit of scrap paper to neat typed letters.

They include "God Bless You" written on a Post It note, handmade cards and messages of support from other mothers.

Among the cards is a personal handwritten note from Merseyside Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe, letters from an office full of colleagues, drawings from children, Mass cards and letters from church parishes.

Gee is still working her way through the boxes full of unopened cards and letters she has collected in the loft, shed and garage since Anthony's death.

Every day she opens a few and draws comfort and strength from their contents.

Many were addressed simply to "Anthony Walker's mum, Merseyside" yet they managed to reach her Huyton home.

She said: "I still get emotional when I think about all those cards, messages and letters. I have a tear in my eye just talking about them.

"I want to say thank you to our postman. I used to see him struggling as his sack of mail got bigger every day. Some of the names and addresses were wrong but those messages still got to me.

"The cards and letters have been constant and they are still coming every day.

"The ones that touched my heart the most were the crumpled ones from children. They gave me hope.

"I promise I will read every single one that has been sent to me."

marymurtagh@liverpoolecho.co.uk 0151 472 2488

CAPTION(S):

SUPPORT: A fund is being set up in Anthony's memory' SUPPORT: Gee Walker with the cards and letters of support from around the world Picture: COLIN LANE
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 16, 2006
Words:581
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