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Friendship day planned to remember PCSO Julia James who was murdered near Canterbury


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A Friendship Day is being planned to honour the memory of murdered PCSO Julia James.

Sally-Anne Bedford, 48, is behind the event. She lives in the town of Northwich in Cheshire and never met Mrs James but was so moved by the tragedy she wanted to take action.

Murdered PCSO Julia James
Murdered PCSO Julia James

Events will be taking place across the country on July 2 to raise finds for the Rising Sun Domestic Violence and Abuse Charity in Canterbury, which Mrs James supported.

Speaking to KentOnline Mrs Bedford said: "Like many of the people supporting, I felt that as fellow dog walkers and women we wanted to let her family, friends and community know that we stand with them.

"On that day people are encouraged to come together in groups of any size, none too big or small.

"It is to celebrate her life and the work she did supporting victims of domestic violence.

"Over the year we have learnt from her friends and family that Julia was full of love and fun, a big giggler and fantastic friend, for that reason it seems apt to bring people together in her honour.

Sally-Anne Bedford, organiser of the Friendship Day. Picture from Sally-Anne Bedford
Sally-Anne Bedford, organiser of the Friendship Day. Picture from Sally-Anne Bedford

"The events can be a cuppa with friends, a wine evening, a dog walk or anything people want to.

"On the day they will incorporate something blue, a colour that has become synonymous with Julia, that could be, for example, ribbons, balloons or cupcakes."

Mrs James' family has approved of the Friendship Day.

Mrs Bedford already co-organised a global dog walk, that spread as far as Australia through social media, on May 23, 2021.

She now adds: "Like the dog walk we now hope to have people all over the world get involved and send their photos to our Facebook page. The page has become a haven for those that wish to remember her."

Floral tributes built up in a memorial site in the centre Aylesham for Julia James. This scene was photographed three days after the murder
Floral tributes built up in a memorial site in the centre Aylesham for Julia James. This scene was photographed three days after the murder

People can hold the event in their own homes and areas as it can be done by bringing people together in ways such as a coffee morning, dog walk or Zoom calls.

A fun day is also being organised as part of this in Ashford with details to be confirmed.

Julia Janes, 53, was killed as she walked her dog in countryside near her home in Snowdown, Dover district, on April 27, 2021.

Callum Wheeler, now 22, of nearby Sunshine Corner Avenue, Aylesham, was convicted of her murder at Canterbury Crown Court last Monday. He is due to be sentenced at a later date.

Mysteriously, a few hours after the jury verdict, a plaque created in Mrs James' memory was removed from Aylesham village square, where it has lain since her death last year.

Police appealed for people to help trace it.

Details of the Friendship Day can be found on the private Facebook page Remembering Julia James but, to get full details, people have to apply to join the group.

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