The first victim of the London Bridge terror attack to be named was Christine Archibald, a Canadian tourist killed when a van was intentionally driven into crowds of people enjoying the city on a warm Saturday night.
The statement given by her heartbroken family was an emotional read, encouraging anyone who felt touched by the tragedy to pay tribute to her with acts of love, not hate: “Please honour her by making your community a better place. Volunteer your time and labour or donate to a homeless shelter. Tell them Chrissy sent you.”
It seems scores of people have taken their words to heart, donating money and time to worthy organisations in Archibald’s name.
Thirty-year-old Archibald, known as Chrissy, was hit by the white van that was driven at speed into groups of people on London Bridge, before three men jumped out and began stabbing people at random in the Borough Market area.
Seven people are confirmed to have died in the attack, with 48 injured – nearly half of those critically.
But in what’s undoubtedly an unsettling time, messages of solidarity, love, defiance and even humour have been surfacing, and now many are choosing acts of kindness as a way of remembering Archibald, who worked with people struggling with addiction and homelessness back in Canada.
Many are using the hashtags #chrissysentme and #chrissysentyou on social media, revealing donations to food banks and homeless shelters, as well as time volunteered.
Today, with 15 colleagues, we helped to serve over 100 free meals at the soup kitchen in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. #chrissysentme— TashaCloutier (@tashacloutier) June 6, 2017
Today I will put my heart into helping the people in my community who need a friend #chrissysentme— Knightley-Howarth (@KnightleyH) June 5, 2017
Because #chrissysentme, I made a donation to support at-risk youth today. In her spirit, I challenge you to do the same, as well.— Linda Glover (@GloverLindaJ) June 6, 2017
Donated and volunteered today to honour Christine. She was a true Canadian in her giving spirit. #chrissysentme— erin arnold (@erinarnolddream) June 6, 2017
The non-profit organisation she worked for in Canada, Alpha House in Calgary, says it has seen an “outpouring of support” and described Archibald as a “bright light” and a “talented social worker”.
In a statement on Facebook, the charity said: “The employees of Alpha House are devastated to learn of our recent colleague’s passing in London this weekend. Chrissy was a bright light to many, and her generosity, kind spirit and huge heart for her work in responding to issues of addictions and homelessness at the centre inspired us all.
“We grieve the loss of our dear friend and colleague, and will remember her as a talented social worker, workmate and exceptional human being. It was our privilege to have known her. Our thoughts are with her family and friends as they struggle with their tremendous loss. Chrissy is in our hearts and will remain there.”
Originally from British Columbia, Archibald was visiting London for the first time, joining fiancé Tyler Ferguson who was in the capital for work. Family members said the couple, who lived together in the Netherlands but were planning to return to Canada, had decided to tour the city at night, and Ferguson was a few steps ahead of Archibald when the van struck.
Ferguson’s sister Cassie told CBC News, “He is broken into a million pieces,” while his brother described them as “madly in love”.
Her family’s statement said: “We grieve the loss of our beautiful, loving daughter and sister. She had room in her heart for everyone and believed strongly that every person was to be valued and respected.
“She lived this belief working in a shelter for the homeless until she moved to Europe to be with her fiancé. She would have had no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death.”
Main image: Met Police / twitter.com/FinnSpirit