Pals light up sky to mark tragic Maria Titley's 18th birthday
FAMILY and friends of a Port Talbot teen have gathered to remember her on the day she would have turned 18.
Maria Titley, a pupil of St Joseph's Roman Catholic Comprehensive School, died suddenly six months ago.
To mark her 18th birthday, scores of people flocked to Aberavon Beach, despite the bad weather, to let off balloons and lanterns.
Maria's mum Kathryn Short said they wanted to celebrate her life.
"The day Maria passed away all her school friends went down to the beach and set lanterns off. So we are letting off lanterns and balloons on her birthday."
Mrs Short said their family had received so much support from Maria's friends. In June pupils at St Joseph's held a special talent show to raise funds for memorial bench and plaque for the school garden in memory of Maria.
"Her friends have been amazing," she said. "They have done so much. They are a credit to their parents and to the school. We also have some really close friends and family."
Kelly Griffiths, who helped to organise the memorial event last night, said the weather wouldn't stop it going ahead.
"I spoke to her family and they said Maria was always cooking up a nice storm," she said. "Everyone is there for each other. We have got a great community spirit."
Ms Griffiths, whose son Ryan was friends with Maria in school, said an event was also held on Friday night.
"We had a memorial evening at the Navel Club and all her friends were there for that," she said. "We just want to celebrate her life."
Following her death in April, head teacher Eugene Scourfield described Maria as a popular and much-loved pupil. "She was an excellent role model and a great ambassador for the school," he said.