Thank you so very much, Levenmouth

Deborah Smith with her stepdaughter Hannah Smith

Deborah Smith with her stepdaughter Hannah Smith

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The Leven stepmother of teenage cyberbullying victim Hannah Smith has paid tribute to the kindness of friends and family in Levenmouth.

Deborah Smith said the messages of condolence and support had brought strength and comfort to the family since Hannah’s passing a month ago.

The 14-year-old, of Lutterworth in Leicestershire, took her own life after receiving abusive messages in response to posts she had submitted to Latvian-based social network site Ask.fm.

Hannah’s father, Dave, and other members of the family launched a campaign demanding greater protection for young people online and calling for tougher regulations over site monitoring and internet harassment.

“There has been a lot of support from back home,” said Deborah, acknowledging the friends and relatives still in Levenmouth and elsewhere in Fife.

“They are still all family and friends, even though there are miles between us, but it’s only miles,” she added.

“People are more dispersed these days – friendship and support travels over miles.”

Deborah (42) lived in Leven, Methil, Windygates and St Monans before she met Dave and moved to the Midlands in 2000.

The couple split three years ago but have remained close friends.

Since a church service was held on August 16 to celebrate Hannah’s life, Dave has appeared on ITV’s ‘Daybreak’ to promote the family’s message, as well as having talks with Government ministers.

“The Government is listening, at least, but we can’t say what’s going to come out of it as yet,” Deborah told the Mail.

She added the family had been upset by some comments after the service about mourners wearing onesies and bright clothing, which critics thought was inappropriate.

Deborah said no one should dictate to anyone how someobody’s life should be remembered on such an occasion, if it was in keeping with people’s wishes.

She added the church, St Mary’s, had been “wonderful” and knew many teenage mourners would be attending.

The petition launched by the Smith family can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/48886.

Deborah has also advised parents of a list of commonly used online acronyms at www.netlingo.com/top50/aconymsfor-parents.php.