Memorial bench a private spot to remember Gina

Lisa Heir with the memorial bench in Sheringham to her daughter Gina Holmes, who died from a brain i

Lisa Heir with the memorial bench in Sheringham to her daughter Gina Holmes, who died from a brain inflammation just days after her school prom. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A teenager who died from a brain inflammation just days after her school prom is being remembered in her home town.

Gina Holmes

Gina Holmes - Credit: Archant

Sixteen-year-old Sheringham pupil Gina Holmes saved the lives of at least three others through organ transplants following her death in July last year.

Now a memorial bench in her honour has been unveiled, in a once neglected corner of the Cliff Road car park, overlooking one of her favourite spots on the beach.

It is inscribed with the words 'smile it makes the world a better place' – which the teenager wrote on a piece of paper while working at the town's Two Lifeboats pub.

Gina's mum Lisa Heir, 46, said: 'I chose this spot because it's a private place, out of the way of the prom, visitors can come and sit here and reflect.


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'It's so much better than having something in a cemetery.

'It was ideal because it overlooked the beach that she was on and it was all overgrown and not cared for and they have totally revamped the area.

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'So many of her friends were affected by her passing so quickly after the prom that it made sense because it's a nice place for young people to come.

'A lot of her friends have already been down here and it's nice for them as well to remember her.'

On the day her daughter died, Miss Heir said she came home to a memorial of flowers and pandas – Gina's favourite animal – decorating her doorstep.

And it is hoped to add a carved panda to personalise the space later this year to mark Gina's birthday.

Her mum spoke of her daughter's warm smile and infectious laugh, which all her friends had mentioned since her death.

'If anyone was ever struggling she would be straight there to support them. She was proud to be different,' she added.

Gina's death helped a 13-year-old boy, who had been on the waiting list for six months, who received a heart transplant. A man in his late 20s was given a liver transplant and a married woman in her 50s was given Gina's lungs.

The bench cost £3,100 with £2,500 donated by the community through various fundraisers.

Thanking everyone for their support, Lisa added: 'The support I've had, the community spirit is amazing.

'I just really want to thank the town for what they have done.'

Do you have a Sheringham story? Email ally.mcgilvray@archant.co.uk

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