THE family of Liberty Baker, who was killed on her way to school, told of her “glowing smile” as they paid tribute to the 14-year-old.
The Henry Box pupil was killed when a blue Citroen car struck her after mounting the kerb in Curbridge Road, Witney, at about 8am on Monday.
Yesterday, the family of Miss Baker, who was due to be honoured with an award from the school, spoke for the first time in a statement released by Thames Valley Police.
It said: “We are devastated and heartbroken that our beautiful daughter and sister has been so cruelly taken from us.
“Liberty was such a kind and caring girl and her glowing smile lit up our lives.
“We thank everyone for their support and kind words during this devastating time and we appeal to anyone who saw this tragedy unfold, to contact the police on 101.”
It comes as friends of Liberty prepared to gather tonight to release balloons in her memory.
The event is the first of many memorials planned for the coming weeks in the wake of the teeanger’s death, with the support of local businesses and charities.
Teddies and floral tributes left at the scene of Liberty Baker’s death in Curbridge Road
Fifty helium balloons will be released into the skies above the town at intervals between 7pm and 9pm at Witney Hub youth centre, Witan Way.
Nicole Smith, 18, who attended the Hub with Liberty, helped to organise the balloon event and is planning to have a memorial bench and plaque placed in the town dedicated to her friend.
She said: “I knew Liberty quite well because she was in my group at the youth club. She was such an asset to our group and I just wanted her to be remembered and treasured.
“I went down and spoke to the manager of Timpson in High Street and he donated a plaque which we’re hoping to put on a bench surrounded by flowers.”
Stewart Williams, the manager of Timpson, above, said he was happy to help Liberty’s friends.
He said: “I actually drove down the road where Liberty died just five minutes earlier and it gives me the shivers just thinking about it.
“A young lady came into the shop and asked me about a plaque in Liberty’s memory. It normally costs about £40 but I told her not to worry about the cost because in these circumstances it’s not about the money.”
More memorials could be funded by local charity Oxfordshire West Food Bank, which launches the first of its monthly community cafe events on July 28.
Jo Cypher, 40, who runs the food bank, said: “I’m an old scholar at Henry Box where Liberty went to school and I’m an old-fashioned sort of person who will help out whenever I can.
"Our community cafe events will run on the last Monday of every month at the pavilion on the Leys in Witney and we decided to donate our takings from the first event to Liberty’s friends so they can pay for memorials.
“I have messaged her friends and told them we are well prepared and ready to help them out.”
An 18-year-old was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and was released on police bail until August 10.
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