Friend’s 19 challenges in memory of tragic dancer Gemma Marshall (19)

Becky Lancashire and Gemma Marshall in their school days and below at universityBecky Lancashire and Gemma Marshall in their school days and below at university
Becky Lancashire and Gemma Marshall in their school days and below at university
Becky Lancashire will honour childhood friend Gemma Marshall with a range of activities — from sky-diving to a triathlon — and hopes to capture some of her pal’s “daring” spirit.

A “BEAUTIFUL dancer” who died following a car crash aged 19 will be celebrated by her friend as she takes on 19 challenges this year to raise money for a dance scholarship in her memory.

Money raised by Becky’s 19 in 19: A Fundraiser for Gemma challenge will go towards a scholarship set up for underprivileged youngsters in the late teenager’s name.

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Becky (22) said: “Gemma was so daring and adventurous. I imagine if she was fundraising or doing something like this she would have pushed herself to the limit.

“I don’t think holding a coffee morning would have been very ‘Gemma’.”

Gemma, of Wickersley Road, had a promising dance career ahead of her and was shining bright in her second year of university in Lincoln when she was fatally injured in a collision on February 3 last year.

The former Oakwood pupil was a passenger in a blue Peugeot when it was involved in a single-vehicle collision. She died in hospital ten days later. 

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Lincolnshire police said an investigation was still ongoing.

Becky, who trained at the Janet Mitchell School of Dance in Brecks with Gemma from a young age, said the past year had been “horrible” but she was ploughing her efforts into the challenge.

“She was so confident, always at the front of dance classes and putting herself out there,” said Becky.

“She had a very infectious attitude. I wish I could have been more like that. So this challenge will hopefully see me capture a bit of that feeling.”

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Production journalist Becky, who now lives in Jersey, said her fundraiser had been well received and more than £200 had been raised in just two weeks through her first challenge — booze-free ‘dry January’.

Money raised will go to the Gemma Marshall Award, which has been set up by Gemma’s mother.

“The award is like a scholarship and will give dance and performing opportunities to young people who may never have been given the opportunity without a little bit of support,” said Becky.

“Her dance career would have taken her to some huge places, so it’s nice that this money will go towards helping young people follow their dreams.”

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The friends attended the same secondary school and Sitwell Juniors. 

Gemma also followed in Becky’s footsteps to the University of Lincoln to study dance and “spent her life in the dance studio”.

Becky added: “Losing her hit everyone so hard, especially in the first few months. There were so many emotions, grieving, disbelieving, missing her a great deal, and also trying to think: ‘What would Gemma do?

“She would not have wanted us to be moping around. She would have wanted us to have a party.”

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Becky said their university dance friends were keen to join her 19-mile coast-to-coast walk as part of the challenge and the tragic death had brought them even closer together.

“I’m also going to do ‘meat-free March’, which will be a challenge on a day-to-day basis,” said Becky, formerly of Broom.

“The fundraiser will keep Gemma at the forefront of my mind.”

To donate and to follow Becky’s challenges visit

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