'Sarah's tree': Tree on Woodhouse Moor in Leeds covered with ribbons in tribute to Sarah Everard
A tree on Woodhouse Moor has been decorated as a tribute to Sarah Everard, the woman who went missing after walking home from a friend’s house in London.
Decorated with a sign reading 'Sarah’s Tree' and colourful ribbons, it is similar to other tributes seen in Edinburgh and Woking.
Human remains found in a woodland in Kent were confirmed as those of 33-year-old Ms Everard earlier this month.
A Met police officer is due to go on trial in the autumn accused of kidnap and murder.
The student behind the commemorative tree in Leeds, Isabel Reilly, said it was about women reclaiming spaces they feel are dangerous.
Following Ms Everard's death, women in Leeds have come together to say they don't want to be scared on the city's streets, and Leeds students have said they do not feel safe around Woodhouse Moor and the wider Hyde Park area at night.
Isabel Reilly said: “We wanted to do it in Hyde Park to show that these are public parks and we still have just as much as a right to spend our time in them.
"It’s somewhere that is notorious for being dangerous at night, not somewhere where people would recommend women to go.
“The encouragement is to go to the tree and wrap a ribbon around it. The idea is to represent a woman for each ribbon in these public spaces that are normally set out as ‘out of bounds’ for women particularly out of a certain time.
“It's about staking our claim in these public spaces with a ribbon.”
The police response to a London vigil for Ms Everard sparked a backlash, and Isabel said she decorated the tree to “stand in solidarity with Sarah Everard and as a way to have that mourning without having to break any lockdown rules”.
She added: “My sister created this tree up in Edinburgh. After she made her tree it got picked up down in London, there’s one that was made in our home town in Woking and then I decided to set one up in my university town in Leeds”.
Isabel said the death of Ms Everard “brought more alertness and opened the conversation a lot for women, especially just walking home and young women doing normal things.
“I think it’s really become a hot-point, serving as a reminder that at any point really we can be in danger."
The Instagram page set up to spread awareness of the tree’s decoration is also raising money for Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds.
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