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Park bench in memory of slain teen

Charrie Hyatt (right) and her daughter, Brooklyn, check out a bench on the Peachland waterfront, installed in memory of Hyatt’s older daughter ,Ashlee. - contributed
Charrie Hyatt (right) and her daughter, Brooklyn, check out a bench on the Peachland waterfront, installed in memory of Hyatt’s older daughter ,Ashlee.
— image credit: contributed

A place where friends and family of Ashlee Hyatt can go to reflect about the murdered teen has finally been completed.

On Monday afternoon, the teen’s mother, sister and several friends were on hand after a District of Peachland staffer attached a series of three plaques to her memorial bench, remembering the 16-year-old who lost her life in June.

Mom Charrie Hyatt said that the Peachland officials called her Monday afternoon to tell her a district worker was ready to put the plaques on, but they would wait for her to arrive so she could be the first person to sit on the bench, erected in memory of her older daughter.

“I’ve never rushed so quick,” said Hyatt.

The bench was the first thing she thought to do as a memorial after the killing, Hyatt said, even before she started a bursary in Ashlee’s name.

“She was murdered in Peachland, so I wanted something there for her,” said Hyatt.

A friend of Ashlee’s started the legwork for the bench. After learning of the cost, Hyatt posted a request on Facebook for help pay for the bench, as fundraising was already underway for the bursary.

Parents of one of Ashlee’s friends, Blake and Katherine Gray, stepped up to cover the cost.

“It was pretty overwhelming,” said Hyatt. “They’re a pretty amazing family.”

Hyatt chose the location, near the Swim Bay docks in Peachland where Ashlee and her friends would often hang out, so that her friends would have an opportunity to sit and remember her while at the beach. “Now everybody has a place to sit and talk to her, remember her,” said Hyatt.

Ashlee died June 2, 2010, after being fatally wounded at a house party on San Clemente Avenue in Peachland.

A teenaged girl, who cannot be named, is charged with second degree murder in Ashlee’s death, as well as assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon in relation to injuries another teen suffered at the same party.

Meanwhile, fundraising is continuing for the Ashlee Hyatt Memorial Bursary. This year, Charrie Hyatt hopes to award $2,000 to a Mount Boucherie Secondary graduate involved in the peer mentor program.

If you would like to donate, you may send cheques to the Central Okanagan Bursary and Scholarship Society (COBSS), 1-616 KLO Road, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 4X4.

Mail should be addressed to Pauline Kirk and cheques made out to COBSS, with Ashlee Hyatt Memorial Bursary written in the memo line.

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