Family and friends of Hollie Gazzard gathered in Southgate Street tonight to remember the popular hairdresser on the two-year anniversary of her death. They were joined in paying tribute to Hollie by community leaders and complete strangers. Hollie’s father Nick Gazzard gave a speech dedicated to the memory his daughter and thanked everybody who came. Prayers were said and flowers were laid on a memorial bench which was unveiled on Sunday.
At 6:51pm, the exact time Hollie died two years ago, the crowd observed a two-minute silence to remember her. Hollie’s father Nick said the silence was also an opportunity to think about anybody who has been a victim of domestic violence or stalking. He said: “We’ve had fantastic support from everyone in the community. “And that keeps us going and allows us to do the things that we need to do to raise awareness of abuse, and particularly the coercive control part of abuse.” Nick started the Hollie Gazzard Trust after his daughter’s death in 2014.
The trust raises money for a number of causes, such as the Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service and Increase the Peace, which aims to divert young people away from violent and anti-social behaviour. Last autumn, the Trust launched a new personal safety app. Hollie was stabbed by ex-boyfriend Asher Maslin while she worked at Fringe Benefits and La Bella Beauty Salon in Southgate Street. Maslin is currently serving a minimum of 24 years behind bars for Hollie’s murder. Speaking outside the salon, Nick said: “This is the second anniversary of Hollie’s death and it’s been a very tough day for us. “It’s the most emotional day of the year. “We’ve had thousands of messages of support which really make a big difference to us. “I miss Hollie every day. I miss her smile, I miss her wit, her laughter.”
Hollie’s sister Chloe Gazzard, 25, said the build up to the day had been very difficult for the family. She added: “For all her friends and family and even for strangers that are coming, it’s just lovely to know how Hollie was loved and how many many people want to pay their respects to her. “She was just a beautiful young lady.”
The memorial service came just a few weeks after the launch of Gloucestershire Police’s knife surrender campaign, which aims to encourage people carrying a knife to hand them in at a police station with no questions asked. On Sunday, when Hollie’s memorial bench was unveiled, Richard Berry, assistant chief constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary, said: “Since her death, the work of the Hollie Gazzard Trust has been absolutely amazing in terms of community safety and initiatives to try and prevent stalking. “These events are really important and symbolic and it puts a marker down in the community that says we are not going to tolerate this.”
As featured on the gloucestercitizen.co.uk