A bench designed in a loving tribute to South Tyneside sweethearts Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry has been officially unveiled.
The cast iron bench was revealed in a special ceremony held outside of South Tyneside Town Hall, yesterday, where it will remain.
The day marked exactly four months since Chloe, 17 and Liam, 19, lost their lives in the Manchester Arena bomb attack.
Their families, hope the bench will become a place where people can come to spend time with their thoughts and be inspired to “follow their dreams.”
The bench features the Marsden Cricket Club emblem signifying Liam’s connection to the club and passion for the sport and a piano player, to represent Chloe’s love of music.
In an emotional ceremony, watched on by family, friends, the bench was officially unveiled by Chloe’s older brother Scott along with Liam’s younger brother Zack.
Chloe and Liam are a story of love and togetherness which touched the hearts of so many people across the borough.Mayor of South Tyneside Coun Olive Punchion
Flowers were laid in tribute to the pair described as “perfect” for one another.
For the families, the siting of the bench couldn’t be more poignant - hey say they will be forever grateful to the people of South Tyneside for the love and support they have received during the darkest times of their lives.
Floral tributes were laid on the spot following the couple’s deaths.
Chloe’s dad, Mark, speaking on behalf of both families thanked those who had come out to pay tribute to his daughter and her boyfriend.
He said: “I’d like to start by thanking Dave and Norman from Jon Nichol Fabrications for the amazing tribute they have created for Chloe and Liam.
“I’d like to thank the Mayor and the council, everybody who has been involved in allowing us to position the bench where it is. It’s an amazing honour that it has been placed in front of Queen Victoria.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has come here, family and friends and people who we don’t even know.
“People have been absolutely amazing for us since this happened. It’s four months to the day. It’s totally heartbreaking so thank you for everything.”
The Mayor of South Tyneside Coun Olive Punchion said: “The loss of Chloe and Liam was deeply felt by the whole of South Tyneside.
“On behalf of the people of the borough, we’d like to extend our thoughts to all their family and friends.
“Chloe and Liam are a story of love and togetherness which touched the hearts of so many people across the borough.
“This new memorial bench is a lasting tribute to such a wonderful young couple and will provide a place of reflection where people can come and think about Chloe and Liam, together forever.”
*The families of Chloe and Liam have since launched a trust in celebration of the couple’s lives.
The Chloe and Liam Together Forever 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.
The families are keen to help inspiring performers or sportspeople to fulfil their potential.