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Without your help, I would have fallen apart.

Byline: BY ALAN WESTON Daily Post Staff

THE mother of murdered black teenager Anthony Walker has thanked all those who sent her messages of support in her saddest hour.

What started as a steady trickle of sympathy cards, letters and condolence cards from friends and neighbours turned into an avalanche of post from around the world.

Now, eight months after her son Anthony's murder, Mrs Walker has written an open letter to everyone who supported her family in the aftermath of his 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."

Every day since Anthony's death, Mrs Walker 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 them is a hand written note from Merseyside Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe, letters from an office full of colleagues, drawings from children, Mass cards and letters from churches.

She 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."

In the open letter, Mrs Walker writes: "I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the thousands of people around Liverpool, Huyton, England and indeed the whole world who have sent cards, messages of hope and encouragement, donations and emails for Anthony."

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A grateful Gee Walker surrounded by some of the thousands of messages of love that kept her going Picture: COLIN LANE
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 17, 2006
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