Charity ball in honour of Sophie

Dunedin woman Lesley Elliott in front of a picture of her daughter Sophie.
Dunedin woman Lesley Elliott in front of a picture of her daughter Sophie.

Nobody remembers Sophie Elliott but everyone recognises her murderer, says the organiser of a charity ball.

Hamilton woman Bridget Millar said she hoped this month's It's a Kind of Magic Charity Ball would honour Sophie Elliott's memory in a way that media coverage around the trial of Clayton Weatherston didn't.

"Sophie was more than just the facts we got on TV.

"I've been approaching sponsors and when I mention Sophie nobody knows what I'm talking about until I mention Clayton Weatherston. It's a sad indictment on society, really," she said.

Millar was moved to promote the charity ball after reading Sophie's Legacy, a tribute to the life of Elliott written by her mother, Lesley.

"I read Sophie's Legacy two years ago and it really resonated with me," said Millar.

"I have students like Sophie; they're gorgeous and intelligent with so much potential, so it really resonated."

Wanting to help but not content with a small donation, Millar decided to do something different.

"I had the idea of holding the ball but I thought I better check with the Elliott family. I spoke with Lesley and she was happy for the event to happen.

"Talking to her was very humbling," said Millar.

Despite having no event-planning experience, Millar committed herself to organising the ball.

"The only thing I've organised was my wedding, 15 years ago," said Millar. "But I'm a goals-oriented person."

Millar said she took inspiration from Lesley Elliott, who regularly speaks about domestic violence and works at a neo-natal job.

"I'm starting to run out of energy but I just think Lesley lives this every day," said Millar. "What I'm doing is just a drop in the bucket."

Millar said Lesley Elliott was set to attend the ball and hoped to speak at Hamilton schools in the preceding days.

The evening also features a charity auction. All funds raised will be donated to the Sophie Elliott Foundation, which aims to alert young women to signs of partner abuse.

*Don Rowe is a Wintec student journalist.

Waikato Times