The widow of a murdered Lancaster man is contemplating her first Christmas without her husband – and urging people to support a campaign in his memory.
Philip Sherriff, 37, who was brought up and went to school in Scorton, Lancaster, died after being slashed in the throat with a broken bottle at a Jessie J nightclub performance on April 3, where he was a guest of his employer phone company Blackberry. His killer Ashley Charles was jailed for life last month.
And on Tuesday, Jane Sherriff, supported by her mum Jenny Cornell, boarded a train from Lancaster to London to present a 119,000-signature petition to Downing Street calling on government to ban glass bottles and containers in city centre nightspots.
Jane’s Bottle Stop campaign has received huge support since its launch this year, and the mother-of-two said that whatever the outcome, she was hoping for something positive to come from her husband’s death.
She said: “It will be our first Christmas without Phil, and to be honest I hadn’t appreciated how hard it would be.
“Phil just loved Christmas, he went Christmas crazy.
“It would be tree up on December 1 and he’d change his phone ringtone in October. He really embraced it.”
Jane said that she wouldn’t be doing Christmas at home this year and will be taking her two children Rowan, five, and Megan, eight, away on holiday.
“We’re going off to Lanzarote,” she said.
“But there will be presents, so Father Christmas is going to be heading out to Lanzarote. I think then the plan is to get up Nicky Nook (a hill near Scorton) where Phil’s ashes are scattered, sometime in the New Year.
“The kids are very much aware that it’s the first Christmas without dad. I’ve just explained to them that I just can’t do it this year.”
Jane said that although she felt a weight had been lifted following the end of the trial, there was “no such thing as closure”.
“I just want the kids to be okay,” she added.
On the Bottle Stop campaign, Jane said she initially expected to get a few hundred signatures, and was astounded by the response.
“I think it’s been so well supported because we’re just a normal family, and people understand this could happen to anyone.
“There are a lot of people the same age as me, in the same position, with young children, whose husband or partner goes away for work.
“The response has been overwhelming, but I do feel like I’ve created a monster sometimes.
“Ultimately I want the law changed, but either way something positive is coming from Phil’s death.”
On Tuesday Jane met with Baroness Angela Smith, Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham, and Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw, who Jane said were keen to push Bottle Stop forward in the New Year.
Mr Ollerenshaw said: “We’re going to get MPs to go to the Back Bench Business Committee to get a debate on this.
“A lot of licencing authorities could do something straight away, so it’s not the biggest step in the world.
“One of the issues we’re looking at is how different licencing authorities use their powers.
“We could create rules to give them even greater powers.
“We want to explore existing law and whether we need any new laws. Practically, there’s a lot already there, but we want to know whether licencing authorities are using all the powers they’ve got.
“I think it would be in the interest of most clubs and bars anyway.
“At the very least this debate will highlight this very serious issue.”