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SIAN O'CALLAGHAN: We will not forget Swindon's angel
‘RIP Swindon’s Angel’ read the hundreds of posters carried by the crowds of people who turned out for a memorial walk for murdered Sian O’Callaghan last night.
An estimated 300 people, many wearing T-shirts with Sian’s face emblazoned on them, descended on the entrance to Suju nightclub in Old Town where the 22-year-old was last seen alive – as they prepared for the walk.
Sian, 22, was last seen leaving Suju nightclub in Old Town shortly before 3am on March 19.
Her body was discovered over the county boundary in Uffington, Oxfordshire the following Thursday.
As the pubs and bars in Old Town began to fill up with drinkers, an eerie silence was felt as the mourners made their way through Wood Street and on to Devizes Road before ending up in Lawn where prayers were read by Father Mark Paris.
Led by friend Dean Mayo, who set up the Facebook group organising the event, the procession burst into a round of applause at one stage.
Dean said: “It has been a brilliant turnout.
“A lot of people in Swindon were asking for something like this to be done as a last send off for Sian in the best possible way.
“The way the community of Swindon has come together has been absolutely amazing.
“It is also a thank you to the police as well – as bad as the outcome was, I want to thank them for everything they have done.
“We also had some taxi drivers following us on the route as well which I think is good, because they feel this just as much as us.”
Former Irish Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Egan also joined walkers last night.
He said: “This is all about showing support to the family in their time of grieving. It is not going to bring Sian back but hopefully we can give some comfort to the family by letting them know that people are behind them and thinking of them.
“It is not just the people of Swindon either – there are people all around the world who are thinking of them. It is such a tragic ending.”
Many people taking part held candles, while others carried donation buckets to collect money for Sian’s family with the aim of setting up a permanent memorial in her name.
Barry James, 30, who lives in the town centre, was collecting donations on the night.
He said: “I was there looking for Sian when she disappeared but there was so many people trying to help so I wanted to try and do my bit to help.
“Everyone has been so affected by what has happened, it is just so upsetting.”
After prayers were said by Father Paris, a two minute silence was held in Sian’s memory.