A trust set up to celebrate the lives of two teenagers who were robbed of the chance to reach their full potential aims to help others to achieve their dreams.
Chloe Rutherford had a passion for performance while boyfriend Liam Curry’s love of sport knew no bounds.
The couple, described as “perfect” for each other, were among the 22 killed in the Manchester Arena bomb attack in May.
But while their hearts still ache for what might have been, their families are determined to see their children’s names live on by helping those with similar talents reach their full potential – something both Liam and Chloe had so cruelly snatched away.
Now, using the enthusiasm the couple showed in nurturing the talents they were both gifted with, their parents have been inspired to launch the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust.
Driven by their love for the teenagers, Chloe’s mam Lisa and dad Mark, and Liam’s mam Caroline, aim to ensure their names will go on to be celebrated.
The trust aims to help those who have the potential to go far in the world of performance and sport, but a lack of funds is holding them back, to further their talents through the use of bursaries.
Caroline said: “Liam and Chloe haven’t been allowed the opportunity now to reach their full potential, so we want to make sure they can reach their full potential through someone else.
“And I know we would feel so proud at watching someone achieve that. We would feel such a sense of pride knowing Chloe and Liam had helped someone go on and reach their potential.”
The families, who will be supported by others to run and build the trust, took the decision to launch the trust as a way of giving something back to the people of South Tyneside for the love and support they showed them through some of the darkest times of their lives.
Lisa said: “While we were in Manchester, there was love and support coming from around the country and the world, but the strongest love and support we received, for us, was from South Tyneside.
“And we just wanted to give something back.
“Chloe loved singing and performing. And we want to give people who are interested in music and performance a chance. While cricket was Liam’s love – he loved his sport – I know how expensive the performance side can be, with the cost of exams and various qualifications, and sometimes it can be those that can prevent someone from making a career out of something they are good at and are passionate about, and that’s where the trust will step in, to help in some way so that the person can achieve their dreams.”
Caroline added: “Everything we have seen on the internet, the friends sending us things, the amount of love that came out of South Tyneside – the care shown for two normal kids.
“Yes, they were special to us and they always will be. They did their job, Chloe went to college and Liam went to uni, they were just two normal kids.
“To have all of South Tyneside thinking about them, meant a lot to us.
“We have had meetings about the trust and people said we could have made this national, but for us we needed it to start where we felt the safest and most loved – South Tyneside.”
The families have a number of ideas as to how and where they see the trust, which will be looked after by a board of trustees, going, but say they will be taking everything one step at a time. Caroline said: “It’s about moving forward and celebrating Chloe and Liam’s lives, rather than stopping back there.”
Chloe, 17, from Marsden, was studying Music Performance at Newcastle College and had starred in a number of shows over the years, many performed at the Customs House in South Shields. She also performed at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal.
Liam, 19, from Biddick Hall, was a keen cricketer, playing for Marsden Cricket Club from the age of six where he passed his level 2 coaching qualification. He was studying for a degree in sports science at Northumbria University. Already, the trust has agreed to sponsor the Player of the Year award at Durham Cricket League and outstanding performance by a player under 25 at Marsden Cricket Club.