SIX hundred people will tonight pay tribute to a tragic mum and daughter killed in a car crash.
Friends, family, and people who have read the story of Joanne and Mya Richardson, will join forces at 9.30pm, when the crash happened, to release Chinese lanterns into the air.
From Dubai to Durban, the lantern cause has been taken up in force.
Joanne’s husband Ian Richardson said he was astonished at the response.
The husband of Joanne and father of Mya has organised the tribute to mark the first anniversary of the deaths of his “beautiful girls”.
Ian, 38, said: “Six hundred people have told me they are going to release a lantern.
“I have had responses from Canada, Dubai, Oman, Australia, South Africa and Malaysia and I think it is remarkable that people are doing this. It shows how far the message has reached.
“It also makes people think ‘there but for the grace of God go I’.”
Yet while Ian is delighted at the response, he added: “It does not matter what we do, nothing is going to bring them back. Nothing is going to change anything.
“All we can do is try to remember with kindness.”
Ian, who runs his own marketing and communications firm on Queens Meadow business park, in Hartlepool, and won an Award For Inspiration in the Mail’s first Pride of Hartlepool Awards in March, admits to a range of emotions from “dread to apprehension” as the precise moment of the anniversary approaches.
But he described how it would not be one brief moment of reflection.
“The accident was at 9.30pm that night but Mya died in hospital at 12.36pm the next day. For me, it is not just a case of saying nine thirty. It is living through the next 16 hours.
“These are the milestones that other people will recognise but for me, it won’t change anything.
“I have never seen a year go so fast and yet so slow in parallel. It is the strangest feeling.”