Molly’s parting gift - 1000 candles to shine in celebration of legacy left by mum of murdered Aylsham teen

The new community room in Aylsham Church. Rev Canon Andrew Beane, vicar of Aylsham in the new room.

The new community room in Aylsham Church. Rev Canon Andrew Beane, vicar of Aylsham in the new room. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

It was a legacy of love from a bereaved mother for the Christian faith from which she drew strength in her darkest hour.

Molly Long, pictured in 2004.

Molly Long, pictured in 2004. - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

For more than 40 years Molly Long lived with grief and sadness after her adored only child Susan was brutally murdered.

But in a parting gift Mrs Long left a generous cash legacy to Aylsham Parish Church following her death in 2014.

St Michael's used the £70,000 bequest, to build the two-storey Molly Long Community Room within the medieval church she loved. Now 1000 candles will be shining out in celebration at dedication ceremony on January 29.

At a special service the Bishop of Lynn, Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick will dedicate the room in memory of Mrs Long.

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Team Rector of the Aylsham Team of Churches canon Andrew Beane said: 'The church will look amazing lit with a 1000 lights each shining brightly in memory of someone special. What makes it even more special is that at this time in the church we celebrate Candlemas.

'Our wonderful new community room was made possible by Molly's amazing legacy of £70,000. We're only just beginning to see what a difference this facility is making.'

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The room is already being used by the church's baby and toddler group, children's Sunday Club, a children's and community choirs, the U3A Technology Group and a bereavement support group.

Aylsham church is inviting people to sponsor each of 1000 lights for £1 in memory of someone or in celebration of a special event.

Money raised will be split between the church and Norfolk based charity Nelson's Journey, which works with bereaved families.

Nelson's Journey funding and marketing manager Sophie Berry said: 'We are sure that providing the opportunity to remember those who have died in such a special space will be of comfort to those who take part. Funds raised from this special event will support our work with Norfolk's bereaved children, helping us to bring back smiles.'

Everyone is welcome to attend the dedication service at 4.30pm when Bishop Jonathan will be confirming seven people and admitting five children to receive communion before confirmation.

To sponsor a candle visit

The body of insurance worker Susan Long, 18, was discovered by a milkman in Burgh Road, Spratt's Green, about a mile and a half from her home, in the early hours of March, 11 1970.

She had been sexually assaulted and strangled but, despite a full-scale police investigation, her killer has never been found.

For more than 40 years Molly Long bore, with quiet dignity, regular publicity about the murder, hoping her daughter's killer would be tracked down. She died without an answer.

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