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Monday 19 March 2018

Mother's tribute to murdered Alice Gross at music concert in her memory

Murdered Alice Gross was remembered by musicians at special fundraising concert
Murdered Alice Gross was remembered by musicians at special fundraising concert

The mother of murdered schoolgirl Alice Gross has paid tribute to her daughter at a concert organised in her memory.

Speaking at A Concert For Alice, held at the Ambassadors Theatre, London, Ros Hodgkiss, spoke of her daughter's love for music and said that she "shone brightly like sunlight on water".

Ms Hodgkiss said: "It is almost a year now since the hideous events of last summer and the truth is it doesn't get any easier to deal with our loss. It shocked us from our certainties, made us aware that there is no eternity, there is only now."

Addressing the 380-strong audience, Ms Hodgkiss said: "I still feel her. Her stillness and her motion, her sparkle and her tranquillity. Alice shone brightly, and briefly like sunlight on water. I hear Alice in each high note, each beat of the drum, I see Alice in every dance, each tap of the foot, each flick of the wrist.

"Music was part of Alice's soul and with it she charmed and gave gaiety to life and to everything," added Ms Hodgkiss.

She quoted Plato, Ray Charles, writers Maya Angelou and Dennis Potter, and pop stars Taylor Swift and Rihanna in a moving tribute to her daughter's musical talents.

Ms Hodgkiss added: "Music was her solace, and I believe it would have been a salvation. Alice suffered from an eating disorder but music gave her the opportunity to express her demons and with time I know she would have expelled them."

The concert was organised to remember Alice, who went missing from her home in Hanwell, west London, last August, sparking Scotland Yard's biggest search operation since the July 7 London bombings. Her body was found concealed in the river Brent on September 30.

Arnis Zalkalns, 41, was later found hanged in Boston Manor Park, west London, and police said the Latvian convicted killer would have been charged with Alice's murder if he had still been alive.

A Concert For Alice, headlined by singer-songwriter Laura Mvula, was produced by Forecast Academy, the performing arts school Alice attended as a singer, songwriter and musician.

Mobo award-winner Mvula said hearing Ms Hodgkiss speak was "really special".

"I hope tonight was a fitting tribute to Alice's own musical potential," she added.

Co-founder of Forecast Academy, Oliver Boito, said Alice was a hugely talented musician and the concert was celebration of her.

He said: "I remember her audition and I was immediately struck by how talented Alice was. It is extremely emotional but this is a celebration of Alice, and it's exactly how we all want her to be remembered."

"I'm enormously proud of how everyone has come together to put this on for such a wonderful and powerful cause."

Hannah Dodson, 23, who attended Forecast Academy described her friend as a "wonderful person" and a talented musician.

"This was a great way to share our memories of Alice as our friend with people who are willing to share their talent with us."

The proceeds will go towards Alice's Youth Music Memorial Fund which was set up by her family following her death.

The fund supports national charity Youth Music who offer disadvantaged young people across the UK the chance to take part in music projects.

Before the concert the fund had raised over £31,000 for Youth Music.

Donations to Alice's fund can be made at http://alice.poppymadeleine.gross.muchloved.com/

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