Grace Millane’s mum says charity work saves her from a dark hole

American Age Official

The mother of a British backpacker murdered in New Zealand has said throwing herself into charity work in her daughter’s memory has saved her from a “dark hole”.

Grace Millane, 22, from Wickford in Essex, was killed while on a Tinder date in Auckland in December 2018.

A 28-year-old man was convicted of her murder and sentenced at Auckland High Court to a minimum of 17 years in jail.

Gill Millane is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro over the Christmas period.

She said she would be taking on the “daunting” challenge in memory of Grace and her late husband, David, who died from cancer in 2020.

Mrs Millane said, together with her sister-in-law and brother-in-law, she planned to reach the summit of the African mountain in Tanzania on New Year’s Eve.

She is raising funds for, and awareness of, White Ribbon, a charity which aims to end violence against women and girls. She is also raising money for St Luke’s Hospice in Basildon, which supported the family during her husband’s illness, and bereavement charity Widowed and Young.

Mrs Millane, who with her family also set up the Love Grace x campaign, said doing charitable initiatives helped her deal with her loss.

“That helps me channel my grief in a positive way, opposed to being in that big, dark hole,” she said.

“I try to make it a positive out of something that was horrendous.”

Mrs Millane said she started to properly prepare for the trek in August and had been in the gym most days, been walking and had trained in an altitude centre.

“It’s helped me get up in the mornings, it’s given me a purpose and again that’s helped me along the road with my grief,” she said.

Grace MillaneGrace Millane

University of Lincoln graduate Grace was on a round-the-world trip at the time of her death

Mrs Millane, who survived breast cancer, said she expected it to be “incredibly emotional” when she reaches the summit of Africa’s highest peak, and she was taking pebbles with Grace and David’s names on them to place at the top.

“For us to place our stones down and remember them up the top there, it’s going to be ‘wow, we got here, but we shouldn’t be doing this for them, they should still be with us’,” she added.

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