There are only two photographs of schoolgirl Jasmyn Chan in the Sheffield home where she grew up. One is of a beaming three-year-old toddler, the other of a teenager shyly posing for a friend shortly before her life was tragically cut short in a hit-and-run crash.
“I’ve put all the photographs away because I can’t look at them yet,” said Jasmyn’s heartbroken mum Paula McCullie, wiping back tears as she looked at the one photo next to the 14-year-old’s ashes in a white box.
The 39-year-old added: “It is just the most horrendous and horrible feeling, you still can’t get your head around the fact that you are not going to see your child again. Jasmyn used to come home around 9pm if she had been out.
“And for the first few weeks after she died, when it got to 9pm I would be sat there knowing she wasn’t coming home but hoping that she was going to. We had four plates out on the table when there was only three of us to eat.”
Budding architect Jasmyn, who dreamed of building her own home, loved art and music and is remembered as a typical 14-year-old with many friends who relied on her for help. The caring teen and model pupil had shaved her head to donate the long hair to charity, a change that made her ‘shine’ with confidence, shortly before she was killed.
On the evening of May 9 she and friends had begged to be allowed to go to McDonald’s for a treat, setting off from the Hollin Bush pub where Paula and family friends had gathered to enjoy a warm evening.
But in a tragic twist they changed their minds and decided to walk a friend home to Woodhouse, via Normanton Hill, Intake, instead.
Paula said: “I told Jasmyn she could go straight there and back, but when they had gone some of the other kids decided they wanted a McDonald’s too.
“So we rang to see if they could bring something back and when Jasmyn’s friend answered her phone he said she’d been hit by a car.
“They took me in a car from the pub and when we turned on to Normanton Hill I just knew she was dead, I couldn’t even see her. I just had this horrible feeling.
“We phoned her and it must have only just happened, we were there in a few minutes. The thing is we weren’t even going to go out that night, it was only because the weather was okay we thought we might as well.
“Now you get all your ifs and buts, but you can’t think like that because you would drive yourself mad.
“I stood there thinking ‘if I had spoken to her for five minutes more she wouldn’t have been there, even just a minute longer’.”
Paramedics rushed Jasmyn – who had pushed a friend out of the way of an oncoming car before she was hit – to hospital but she could not be saved.
The grieving family were thrust into the media spotlight, with reporters at their front door, and had to take part in a police appeal for information over the collision.
And they were stunned when more than 1,500 people turned out for Birley Community College pupil Jasmyn’s emotional funeral service.
Paula said: “When we were driving to the funeral we had a police escort and the roads were crammed with people, letting off balloons. It was surreal.
“I knew she was popular but I didn’t realise how popular, I don’t think she knew either. If I could see her again now I would say I am so proud of her. She knew that anyway, I’m more proud of her now because of what she did – pushing her friend out of the way. That’s the kind of person she was.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the support we have had, it makes you realise people really care. We got hundreds of cards, the mantelpiece was full of them, the floor was full.
“I would like to thank everyone, especially Christie and Pauly from the Hollin Bush, for their support.”
Since Jasmyn’s death the family have marked her 15th birthday in August as she would have wanted - with a party.
A charity, called The Jasmyn Chan Foundation, is being set up with the Teenage Cancer Trust to help other youngsters, and will have its first fundraising event tomorrow.
Another key focus has been improving Normanton Hill, where residents have long wanted improvements.
Sheffield Council is working with campaigners and a crossing, called Jazzy’s Crossing, is to be installed.
Recent figures showed 471 drivers had been caught speeding on the road in just three months – one travelling at more than double the legal limit while overtaking on a crossing.
Jasmyn’s family are backing the improvements and want as much as possible to be done to prevent another tragedy.
Paula said: “I think it is sad it’s taken a child to die on that road for people to stop and listen to what residents have been trying to do for years. I’ve only been up there once since Jasmyn died, I was looking at the flowers there, and somebody flew past me.
“I rang the police and got their registration number because it was ridiculous – of all the times that something could happen.
“When the funeral director Michael Fogg brought me Jasmyn’s ashes he said it was great news about the crossing, I was feeling a bit ‘woe is me’ and said it wouldn’t make any difference to me.
“But he said ‘Jasmyn already saved one life that night, think how many more she might save now that crossing is there’. That made me realise that Jasmyn’s name would live on.”
The first fundraising event for The Jasmyn Chan Foundation, which aims to raise £5,000 to set up the charity, is an all-day music festival at The Embassy on Mansfield Road tomorrow. Tickets cost £5 or £2.50.
Supporters can also donate via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org or by contact online banking to 07811018722.
* Naseeb Ellahi, 32, of Birmingham, is charged with six offences in connection with Jasmyn’s death and will appear in court next week.