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Thousands raised for charity in memory of murdered Molly McLaren

By Amy Nickalls

Today marks a year since Molly McLaren was brutally murdered in a case that shocked the nation.

The 23-year-old was stabbed by ex-boyfriend Joshua Stimpson at Chatham’s Dockside Outlet.

He has since been given a life sentence.

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Molly McLaren
Molly McLaren

In their time of grief, friends and family of Molly McLaren rallied together to create a foundation and help others overcome the challenges she had faced.

The Molly McLaren Foundation has raised £36,000 over the past year and continues to grow.

Molly’s dad Doug explained: “Molly suffered with bulimia and she rose up to her challenges; she exercised and was a really positive person.

“She helped others through her blog and she studied sports and nutrition at Kent University.

"She understood what her problems were and wanted to overcome them.

“We were chatting one night and one of us said we ought to do something in her name to help others.

People who attended Mollyfest
People who attended Mollyfest

“We started off with a general concept of helping people with eating disorders and raising awareness.

“It took nine months to get the charity up and running but we’re now crystallising on to sponsoring counselling through third parties

“At the beginning we said if we help one person it’s been a success, but it’s looking like we’re going to be able to help many more.”

Money has been raised through a JustGiving page and various events.

Friends of Molly have taken on their own challenges.

Most recently Molly’s childhood friend Chloe Smith raised £1,300 after running the London Vitality 10k.

The trustees have organised several events over the year including Medway Moves for Molly at Medway Park last October, a comedy night at the University of Kent in February and, most recently a day of music, Mollyfest, to mark her birthday.

Jennifer Hamer, left, event organiser and Amy Lee, a trustee and friend of Molly
Jennifer Hamer, left, event organiser and Amy Lee, a trustee and friend of Molly

They have been well supported from those who live in Cobham where Molly lived, to friends from her time at Mayfield Grammar School in Gravesend, North Kent College in Dartford and then the Medway campus of the University of Kent.

Doug said: “She had so many friends. Mollyfest could have sold 1,000 tickets but we were limited to 400. It was incredible

“It was on her birthday. It had to be then, it was meant to be. We didn’t intend to raise money.

“We just wanted it to be a celebration of Molly and get her family and friends together to celebrate it.

“People were so generous with their time and services and we thought we’d try and raise some money – and we did.”

Mum Jo added: “People we didn’t know were helping as much as they could.

"Dec Keegan was our production manager and string puller. He got everything together.

“The community of Cobham has come together and been amazing.”

More than £5,000 was raised at the event, which Jo and Doug hope to become an annual occasion at the Leather Bottle pub in Cobham, where Molly worked.

  • To find out more about the Molly McLaren Foundation click here

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