Liverpool

James Bulger charity launched for victims of bullying

James Bulger
Image caption James Bulger was killed a month before his third birthday

A charity is being set up in the name of Merseyside toddler James Bulger, who was abducted and murdered in 1993.

James's mother Denise Fergus is launching the charity in the year that he would have turned 21.

The charity will support young people who have become the victims of crime, hatred or bullying.

The James Bulger Memorial Trust (JBMT), which will operate under the name For James, is in the process of being registered with the Charity Commission.

A number of fund-raising events have already been planned, with the first being a Race For James, to be held in the grounds of Knowsley Hall on 20 March.

The JBMT aims to establish a holiday and respite facility, for the use of deserving children and their families, in the North West of England.

Reward good behaviour

Ms Fergus is also working to raise money to build James Bulger House, part of a network of Red Balloon Learner Centres to support victims of bullying throughout the UK.

She said: "I want to see good things done in James's name. I have already worked with another charity that recovers bullied schoolchildren and we achieved a great deal.

"Now I want to broaden out that work to help bullied children and their families, and young victims of crime.

"But we also want to be able to reward children for good behaviour - those who have made positive contributions to society in all kinds of ways. Too often the victims and simply the good kids are forgotten and we want to help change that."

Mrs Fergus added: "One of the first things that we aim to do in James's name is to fulfil the promise I made to create a tangible memorial to my beautiful son. That will be a holiday home that will be called James Bulger House.

"I know times are hard at the moment, but I'm appealing for people to be as generous as they can to help us make this a fitting memorial to James."

James was abducted at the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle on 12 February 1993.

John Venables and Robert Thompson, who were both 10 at the time, approached and befriended him while his mother was in a shop.

James's body was found by children playing on a freight railway line near Walton Lane police station.

He had been beaten to death with bricks and an iron bar.

The 10-year-old killers were arrested days later and became the youngest to be charged with murder in the 20th Century.

Eight months later they were convicted and ordered to be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure.

Two years later the parole board recommended their release as they "were no longer a danger to society".

The pair were given new identities, and an order prohibiting the publication of details which could reveal their whereabouts remains in place.

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