Glasgow & West Scotland

Alesha MacPhail's father unveils tribute on Isle of Bute

Alesha MacPhail
Image caption Alesha MacPhail had been on a holiday on the Isle of Bute

A tribute to a schoolgirl murdered while holidaying with her family on the Isle of Bute has been unveiled by her father.

A memorial bench for Alesha MacPhail, organised by local people, has been revealed at the "children's corner" in Rothesay by Robert MacPhail and his partner Toni McLachlan.

The six-year-old was killed by teenager Aaron Campbell in July 2018.

She was just a few days into a summer holiday with her family in Rothesay.

The bench was organised by the Isle of Bute Resilience Team, a community group which assembles when the island is threatened by adverse conditions.

Image caption The bench is located in an area where children come to play

Fiona Gillespie was behind the idea. She told the BBC: "Alesha means so much to the community. We helped to search for her. She won our teddy bear at the gala day last year. We just want to remember her."

Alesha's family and local people wanted somewhere to go to think about Alesha.

Resilience team member Colin Gillespie added: "It means a lot to have somewhere to sit and gather our thoughts. And Alesha loved riding her bike along here."

Image caption Colin and Fiona Gillespie helped organise the tribute

The volunteers raised almost £2,000 to have the bench specially made in Alesha's favourite pink colour with her name and featuring two unicorns.

A blessing ceremony was held when the bench was handed over on the seafront on Saturday, featuring a piper, bubble machines and balloons to celebrate the six-year-old's life.

Alesha's grandparents Calum MacPhail and Angela King watched as the bench was uncovered.

Image caption Robert MacPhail and Toni McLachlan unveiled the pink bench

A local minister, the Reverend Owen Jones, led a short service in which he said: "We come to remember Alesha and to support and uphold her family, and all those who have been at the centre of the events, the pain and the loss in which she was taken from us."

Campbell, who is now 17, was convicted of the schoolgirl's abduction, rape and murder and ordered to serve 27 years in prison.

In May he was granted permission to appeal against his sentence.

During his trial, judge Lord Matthews, described him as a "cold, callous, calculating, remorseless and dangerous individual".

Image caption People gather as the tribute is unveiled

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