Schoolgirl Melissa Tate's memorial tree planted at Northumbria Police headquarters

The memory of schoolgirl Melissa Tate will live on as a tree has been planted in her name at Northumbria Police’s headquarters.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 11:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 3:22 pm
A tree has been planted in her name at the police headquarters. Photo: Northumbria Police/Chris Toward

Ten-year-old Melissa, known as ‘Missy’ to her family, was tragically killed after she was hit by a van in a fatal hit-and-run near her home.

On Thursday, December 12, Connor Marsden, 24, was sentenced to seven years and four months in jail for causing her death on Hillsview Avenue in Kenton on September 25.

On Tuesday, December 17, Melissa’s parents, her little sister Lili and her step-mum Emma were invited to Middle Engine Lane Police Station where a tree was planted in the memorial garden in the former Mini Police volunteer’s memory

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Police officers joined with Melissa's family to plant the tree. Photo: Northumbria Police/Chris Toward

Melissa’s parents, Kim and Michael, said: “Our Missy was such a special girl who touched the hearts of everybody that she met.

“Not a day goes past that we don’t think of her, or think of the beautiful, successful woman that we knew she would grow in to. We will never get over that pain.

“It is very touching to know that her memory will live on in the Force’s memorial garden.”

Melissa was a proud member of Northumbria Police’s Mini Police scheme.

From left, PC Andrew Ferguson, PC Jamie White, Superintendent Helena Barron, Melissa’s step-mum Emma, sister Lili, mum Kim, dad Michael and Chief Constable Winton Keenen. Photo: Northumbria Police/Chris Toward

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Winton Keenen, said: “Melissa’s death was a tragedy which has had a profound impact on her parents, her family, friends and the community as a whole.

“She was a proud and much-loved member of our Mini Police, who all give up their time to play such a fantastic and vitally important role in supporting their communities, our officers and operational policing more widely.

“We wanted to do something special in her memory – and the tree planted in our memorial garden will be a lasting tribute to her warmth and youthful exuberance.

“All our thoughts and prayers remain with Melissa’s family at this difficult time, and I sincerely hope this small gesture reaffirms to them how wonderful a daughter they raised, and how she will forever be remembered in our hearts.”

Melissa was a member of the Mini Police. Photo: Northumbria Police