Freezing temperatures on a windswept Sunderland beach was no deterrent to scores of well-wishers determined to keep the memory of brave Amber Rose Cliff alive.
Dozens of friends, family and supporters of the 25-year-old, who died earlier this month from cervical cancer, took to Roker Beach last night to release lanterns in her honour.
Amber, from Ashbrooke, battled the cruel disease for four years after she was repeatedly told by NHS doctors that she was too young to have a smear test.
She was eventually diagnosed after paying for a test privately – but tragically, it was too late and the cancer then spread throughout her body.
Her brother Josh, 27, said: “Tonight has just been something for me and my family look forward to and remember Amber by, to help us keep her memory alive.
“She was cremated on Monday and that would have been it for a lot of people, but this is our way of keeping my sister’s memory alive and in our thoughts, and saying that it is not it and we will keep fighting in her name for a change in the law on cervical screening.
This is our way of keeping my sister’s memory alive and in our thoughts, and saying that it is not it and we will keep fighting in her name for a change in the lawJosh Cliff
“We came up with the idea of meeting on the beach and setting a few lanterns off, just taking turns. It’s all about Amber.
“Then we are off to the Smugglers Pub for some music.”
Amber’s family have taken on the fight to secure a change in the law, which would make cervical cancer screening available to high risk group of women, from the age of 18, who have symptoms of cervical cancer.
So far a petition to make Amber’s Law a reality has attracted almost 200,000 signatures, and has won the backing of North East MP Grahame Morris, who is taking the campaign to the Government.
Josh said: “We have nearly passed the 200,000-mark and it was always the main aim, pushing for and raising awareness and raising money for the charity.
“We are still waiting for a reply from the commons and are focussing on raising money, so we can help fund private smear tests for those who need them until the Government pass some sort of law.”
Gentoo worker Amber went to her GP more than 10 times with symptoms and was told she was too young to be checked.
A scan paid for privately when she was 21 found she had cervical cancer.
During the course of the next four years, and despite treatment, the cancer spread to her lungs, lymph nodes and throat.
Amber died on January 8.
To sign the petition for Amber’s Law – Make the cervical screening option available from 18 to high risk groups – visit www.change.org/p/the-government-lower-the-age-of-cervical-cancer-screening-to-18-for-high-risk-groups
Amber’s sister Cameron, 19, is planning to take part in the Race for Life later this year, to add to the fundraising effort, to donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Cam-Cliff