Support the fund to support charity work

Kevin and Rachel Blackman with a photograph of their daughter Charlotte
Kevin and Rachel Blackman with a photograph of their daughter Charlotte

The parents of a talented teaching assistant killed in a freak landslide will mark what would have been her 23rd birthday with a charity gig.

Rachel and Kevin Blackman, from Heanor, are hoping to fill Heanor Miners’ Welfare on Saturday, February 2, as six local bands take to the stage in memory of the former Aldercar Community and Language College pupil.

All money raised will go to the Charlotte Blackman Memorial fund, set up by her family to support autistic and vulnerable children.

Mum Rachel, 46, said the family chose to host a gig because it is how Charlotte would have chosen to celebrate her 23rd birthday.

She said: “Charlotte was at that age which everything revolved around music and going out with friends.

“Last year she went to Bistro Live in Nottingham with her friends, and that’s where she might have gone this year - so she would have been seeing music and dancing.”

Some of the acts have prepared cover versions of Charlotte’s favourite songs for the event, which will fall a fortnight after the former Derby University student was due to attend her graduation at the Assembly Rooms in the city.

Kevin and Rachel will collect their daughter’s first class honours degree in education studies on her behalf on January 17, in what will have been a difficult two months for the family, who only recently attended the inquest into her death.

“It will be a bittersweet day,” said Rachel, of the graduation.

“Most people will be celebrating because they are moving - but Charlotte won’t be.”

The Blackman family intend to hold a memorial service on the day for her university friends and her family - by lighting candles and floating them in the River Derwent.

Rachel said she will collect her daughter’s degree with pride, knowing what she achieved in her life.

“She was so surprised when she got a first,” Rachel said. “But me and her boyfriend Matt weren’t surprised at all.

“She never thought she was that brainy, she always thought she had to work hard at everything, and she did - but she always achieved the highest.”

The Charlotte Blackman Memorial Fund currently stands at £8,000 and the family intend to use it to help the children Charlotte cared for during her life. Rachel said funds could be used to set up a holiday home, but she said the family are still open to suggestions.

If you know of a cause that deals with autism or vulnerable children and would benefit from the funding, contact the Blackmans at