THE family behind the Advertiser's drug-driving campaign Lillian's Law have raised thousands of pounds to support bereavement services through an event in the schoolgirl's memory.
The Lillian's Law Fundraising Ball was a resounding success, raising £5,302 which will now be given out over the coming years to ensure other families who suffer loss get the help they need.
"It was a really special night, the sort of special thing that only happen once in a lifetime," said Lillian's aunt Michaela Groves.
"In part, it was a tribute to Lillian and how much she meant to us all. If she was there she would have absolutely loved it.
"It was brilliant to raise money – more than we ever expected. It's going to go a long way."
More than 300 people, including friends, family, industry experts and politicians, packed The Warren, in Bromley, for the event last Thursday evening.
During an emotional first half of the ball, guests were addressed by Lillian's parents, Gary and Natasha, and then shown pictures of her growing up.
Advertiser reporter Gareth Davies then explained how the paper and the family joined forces after Lillian was hit and killed by a speeding driver, who had taken drugs, in June 2010.
The campaign, launched in August 2012, prompted a change in drug-driving legislation, including a new offence created last year and, in the coming year, the use of roadside testing devices.
Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell, a strong supporter of the campaign, read out a letter to the family from Prime Minister David Cameron and went on to praise them for the bravery they had shown.
He later told the Advertiser: "I thought it was an incredibly moving event. I never had the chance to know Lillian, but when you see the way in which her family have responded to this terrible tragedy, then you could have confidence she would have grown up to be a very fine young woman.
"I am sure she would have been very proud of what her family have done in her name."
After the meal, the fundraising began. A raffle and an auction helped bring in the money, including two women who paid a total of £450 for tickets to see Peter Andre, donated by the singer.
Guests were then treated to a performance by Britain's Got Talent ventriloquist Steve Hewlett, who offered up tickets to his Fairfield Halls show for the cause.
Money raised will support groups like Woodside Bereavement Service, which helped Lillian's family after her death by taking them on a bonding day.
Michaela said: "Raising so much money means we can spread a little bit of Lillian's spirit as far as possible. Natasha said: "The bonding day we went on was out first day together as a family without Lillian. It was difficult but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. "Things like that have a huge impact on the lives of those who have lost someone, so it was amazing to be able to raise to much to help them in Lillian's name."