Gemma's generous nature lives on
TO her parents, she will always be fondly remembered as the girl who wanted to help others less fortunate than herself.Now a trust fund in her name will help continue that memory and help support sick children in their darkest hours.
TO her parents, she will always be remembered as the girl who wanted to help others less fortunate than herself.
Polite, kind and caring, Gemma Adams was much-loved by her close-knit family and many friends.
Now, in memory of the tragic 25-year-old - one of the five women found killed in Suffolk earlier this month - her family have teamed up with the Ipswich Children's Hospice to raise money in her memory.
Supported by the EADT, the Gemma's Gift Appeal is today being launched to raise much-needed funds for the hospice - and to show good can come out of even the worst circumstances.
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Her father, Brian Adams, said: “This has been such a shattering experience for us that we are determined something good, somehow or other, has got to come out of it.
“We know the devastation and upset we've felt over the past few weeks has been felt by everybody who knows us, and also lots of people who don't know us. Virtually everybody connected with Ipswich has been affected by it in some way.
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“We just feel that something good can come out of this, which will give pleasure and relief to families and children who are in a desperate situation at the hospice.
“We know what Gemma's character and personality was before she got involved in drugs and we know she would support this whole-heartedly - and be proud to put her name to it.”
Until her heroin addiction took hold, Gemma was very close to her wide network of friends, as well as her mother, father, older sister and younger brother.
But as her dependence on drugs grew over the past two years, she distanced herself from those who loved her most and began working the streets as a prostitute in Ipswich's red light district.
It was only when she was reported missing, on November 15, that her parents became aware she had been working on the streets. Her naked body was found just over two weeks later in Belstead Brook, Hintlesham. It is not known how it long it had been there.
Since the devastating news, Mr Adams said the family has been overwhelmed by the reaction of the community.
Now they want to give something back as a way of saying 'thank you'.
“It has taken an awful lot out of the town and the area over the difficult time of the Christmas period - normally a time of rejoicing,” said Mr Adams.
“We are aware lots of Christmas parties have been cancelled and know a lot of people don't that feel in a particularly festive mood this year.
“What has happened has had such a devastating and far-reaching effect on everybody and we want to do something good that will benefit the community.
“Everybody is saying to us 'what can we do to help?' and we think it is the right thing to do.
“From a personal point of view, we've received a huge amount of support and we want to put something back. This is our way of doing that.”
During her younger years, Gemma always wanted to help others - whether they be children or animals.
About 11 years ago, while in her early teens, she came across an abandoned litter of puppies in a coal shed in Kesgrave.
Determined to help, she rescued the puppies and even took one into her home - Holly the greyhound, who is now one of the family pets.
Gemma's mother, Gail Adams, said her youngest daughter was also particularly fond of children.
“She loved children and always shone when they were around,” she said.
“She would get down to their level and understand them.”
Mrs Adams said Gemma would be delighted if she knew she was helping the town's children's hospice.
“She wouldn't like the publicity about what is going on because she was a very private person but she would love the idea that she was helping children,” said Mrs Adams.
“She has always been like that since she was tiny.”
Mr Adams added: “Gemma would be over-the-moon about this trust. Her whole philosophy as a youngster, teenager and young woman was that she always wanted to help the underdog. She always wanted to help someone who was in a more unfortunate position than her.
“She would offer them advice, put her arm around them and do everything she could to help. She would be so happy if she knew that, in some small way, she was helping others now.”
The family, who live on the outskirts of Ipswich, said they were excited at the prospect of raising money in Gemma's memory.
Mr Adams said: “However much money is raised, it will be fantastic for the hospice. If it's a small amount, it will be well-used and well-received. If it's a big amount, it could be used to buy something significant and that would be great.
“The point is that the hospice is desperate for money and it will be nice to be able to help them.”
Melanie Chew, East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) head of fundraising, said she was delighted the Adams family had chosen to raise money for them.
She said: “We were very touched to hear that Gemma's Gift Appeal will be in aid of our Ipswich Children's Hospice, and are very grateful to Gemma's family for thinking of us in the midst of this tragic situation.
“Donations made to the Appeal will provide care for life-limited children throughout Suffolk and North Essex, both in their own homes and at our Children's Hospice in Ipswich.
“We are pleased and proud to be associated with Gemma's Gift Appeal and hope that by supporting the children that we care for, this will allow local people to show that our community will not be overcome by these tragic events, and that we all care deeply for the children and young people who live here.”
n Steve Wright, 48, of London Road, Ipswich, has been charged with the murders of Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls. He has been remanded in custody until January 2, when he will appear before Ipswich Crown Court.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
To donate to Gemma's Gift Appeal, call 01473 324847. Phones will be manned from 9am to 5am from tomorrow to Friday and from 9am to 5pm on Tuesday and at the same time on each following weekday. Messages can be left out of these hours and all calls will be returned.
To donate securely online, visit www.justgiving.com/gemmasgift or follow the link from www.eadt.co.uk
You can also donate by post by sending a cheque (payable to EACH) to: East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), 6 Walker Close, Ipswich, IP3 8LY.