Liverpool

Rhys Jones: Fun run legacy for murdered schoolboy

Rhys Jones Image copyright Handout
Image caption The murder of Rhys Jones sparked a national outcry in 2007

A legacy fun run in memory of an 11-year-old boy murdered in Liverpool a decade ago has taken place to "celebrate his life in a positive way".

Rhys Jones was mistakenly shot by a gang member while walking home from football practice in Croxteth in 2007.

The Rhys Jones Community Centre CIC, set up in 2013 to "give hope and strengthen community unity", held the first Run for Rhys in Croxteth Park.

Stephen Jones said his son "would have absolutely loved it".

Image caption Stephen Jones hopes Run for Rhys will "bring people together to have a good time"

A minute's applause was held for Rhys before runners set off for the 5km, 3km and one-mile races, which had no minimum age limit so families could take part.

Mr Jones said: "It's the inaugural Run for Rhys. It will hopefully bring people together to have a good time.

"Rhys would have absolutely loved something like this today."

Image caption Funds raised from the Run of Rhys will be donated to the community centre

Karen Harper, a director of the community centre, said: "We feel the time is right to organise a legacy event in Rhys's name as a positive way to celebrate his life.

"We are committed to bringing an aspirational initiative to the Croxteth community who supported Rhys's parents Melanie and Stephen, and his older brother Owen in their darkest hours.

"Rhys would have loved this idea as he was very sporty, so it will be a very special tribute to his memory."

The funds raised will be donated to the community centre, which offers football, dance and keep fit classes, alternative education and is also a hub for local residents.

Sean Mercer, who was 16 at the time, was jailed for life for Rhys' murder in 2008 and was ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years in prison.

Mercer was a member of the Croxteth Crew gang when he took aim at a rival Norris Green gang member outside the Fir Tree pub, killing Rhys.

A number of other members of the gang were also imprisoned for their part in his death.

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