New Year Honours 2024: Grace Millane’s family appointed OBEs

Grace Millane
Image caption,Grace Millane was backpacking in New Zealand when she was murdered in December 2018

By Andy Trigg & Pol Allingham

BBC News & PA Media

Two family members of a British backpacker murdered in New Zealand have been appointed OBE.

Grace Millane, from Wickford, Essex, was strangled in a hotel in 2018 by a man she had met on a dating app.

After her death, her mother Gillian and cousin Hannah O’Callaghan founded a charity called Love Grace, which aimed to “empower victims of domestic abuse”.

They said it was an “incredible honour” to be named in the King’s New Year Honours list.

“When the letters arrived we kept re-reading them as it was such a surprise,” said Gillian Millane and Ms O’Callaghan, in a statement.

“We are so humbled that Love Grace has been acknowledged and would like to thank those who nominated us.”

So far, the charity, which fills donated handbags with toiletries, has supported about 15,600 domestic abuse victims in the UK and across the world.

Hannah O'Callaghan and Gillian Millane outside 10 Downing Street
Image caption,In 2022, Hannah O’Callaghan (left), and Gillian Millane were invited to 10 Downing Street to receive a Point of Light Award from the prime minister

Ms Millane was murdered in a hotel in Auckland on the eve of her 22nd birthday after she met a man via Tinder.

The body of the Lincoln University graduate, who had been on a gap year, was later found buried in a suitcase in a forested area outside the city.

In February 2020, her killer was jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years.

Gillian and Grace
Image caption,Gillian (right) says her daughter Grace (left), who loved to travel, was her best friend

As well as its handbag appeal, the Love Grace charity also raises money for White Ribbon charities in the UK and New Zealand, which educate men and boys on attitudes that can contribute to violence against women and girls.

Ms Millane and Ms O’Callaghan have been appointed Order of the British Empire for services to charitable fundraising and tackling violence against women.

“Thank you to everyone who has donated, and all of our friends and family who have helped us with Love Grace,” they said.

“We would like to accept this award on their behalf and in Grace’s name.

“We will continue to raise awareness of the issues many face, and make sure that no other family has to go through this,” they added.

Gillian Millane and Hannah O'Callaghan
Image caption,Ms Millane and Ms O’Callaghan said they wanted the bags to help domestic abuse victims to “believe in themselves”
Gillian Millane and Hannah O'Callaghan

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