THE parents of Violet-Grace Youens say they were overwhelmed by the public response to an event celebrating their daughter’s life on Sunday – adding they are planning to set up a charity in her name 

A huge convoy of motorcyclists led the Ride 4 Violet-Grace from Saints’ stadium on Sunday and were followed by scooter riders and cyclists on a journey to Whiston Hospital.

The bikers also continued to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital before they all arrived back at the stadium, where hundreds of families joined a fun day in the sunshine.

Violet’s parents Glenn and Becky, who were joined by two-year-old son Oliver to release balloons in her memory, say they hope she was looking down on them. 

More than 150 people registered to be organ donors at the event after the family revealed how their four-year-old daughter, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Prescot Road, had saved two lives by donating her pancreas and kidneys.

St Helens Star:

Glenn, 30, told the Star: “The turnout was overwhelming. It was emotional – bittersweet at times, but a beautiful day.”

They came from far and wide to celebrate the life of Violet-Grace Y.

Motorcyclists, scooter riders and cyclists – many from St Helens but others from Bristol and Cumbria. One biker had even travelled over from Germany.

It is estimated there were as many as 500 on motorbikes or scooters, and 300 on cycles.

They were followed on the journey by a fire engine and ambulance containing crews who attended the scene on the day the four-year-old suffered fatal injuries.

It was a message of thanks to the NHS teams who fought to save Violet’s life and for the care and compassion shown by nurses who supported the family when their daughter’s organs were donated.

Violet’s parents, Glenn and Becky, are keen to raise awareness or organ donation and encourage people to think about and discuss signing the register.

Glenn, 30, who led out the cyclists, told the Star: “It was an overwhelming turnout – we had turned up on the morning at the stadium not sure how many people would attend and we could not believe it – if half that number had been there we would have been happy.

“It was very emotional – bittersweet at times – but there were good emotions too.

“It was amazing how it all came together – one of the bikers even came from Germany.

“The ambulance and fire crews who helped Violet asked too if they could travel behind the convoy as a sign of respect. Sometimes people forget when they see the emergency services in their uniforms that they are human at the end of the day.

“It was beautiful – a really nice touch.

“While cycling every time I turned and could see the people behind me – and it was hard to believe.

St Helens Star:

“We believe between 150 and 200 people registered as organ donors at the event – which was attended by nurses who were with Violet when she donated her organs. That means a lot to us.”

Becky, sporting violet colours, was with the hundreds of families who gathered at the fun day on the grounds and lawns outside the Totally Wicked stadium.

Many of Violet’s friends enjoyed the bouncy castles, raffles, music and creature exhibitions as the parents, who have a two-year-old son Oliver, aimed to create a day they hoped their daughter would have loved.

Glenn added: “There are so many people to thank, particularly Niel Foster and Barry Jon Rooke, who organised the motorbike ride, Lewis Gibson who helped with the fun day, Dawn Jones (the cycling) and my uncle Colin Jeffery, who looked after a lot of the legal things.

“It is hard to find the words to thank everyone – from everyone who took part in the ride, to our friends and family, to Saints, the council and all who supported us.”

Although there was an undoubted sense of poignancy on the starting line outside Saints, the overriding atmosphere and emotion among the crowds was one of unity and positivity – as the riders, onlookers and family gathered to celebrate Violet’s life - and send a resounding message of thanks to the NHS.

Many of the motorcyclists wore violet or the colours and costumes of superheroes - the characters that Violet adored.