THE grieving mum of murdered Ellie Gould has thanked a group of her friends for raising thousands for Riding for the Disabled, a charity the schoolgirl supported for years.

Her mum Carole has spoken out for the first time since her daughter’s tragic death to say how proud she was of Ellie’s friends for the way they responded to the tragedy by throwing themselves into fundraising, as they presented over £8,000 to the charity.

Both Ellie’s parents were there to see the money presented to RDA Mid West chairman Rachel Vaughan-Johns at Larkrise Community Farm in Trowbridge.

Ellie was a passionate rider and often lent her own pony Blackjack to be ridden by disabled people. Her coffin was carried in a carriage led by two ponies at her funeral in May.

Mrs Gould said: “Ellie has such an amazing group of friends considering what they have been through and what they are dealing with at such a young age, they are amazing. It is amazing to have had this money raised as we know what a great cause it is and how passionate Ellie was about the charity.

“She knew a lot about it because she had a pony which was sometimes used at Riding for the Disabled, which she was really proud of.

“She was so passionate about horses so she knew what pleasure this charity could bring and the benefits of it.

“Both Riding for the Disabled and Larkrise Farm are charities which rely entirely on donations, so this is so important.”

George Strevens raised almost £6,000 by running the Chippenham half marathon last month, and Tilda Offen, Ellie Welling and Harriet Adams raised the rest of a money by hosting a cake sale at Hardenhuish School, where they and Ellie were pupils.

Ellie’s friend Tilda said: “Ellie was such an amazing girl and we just want to carry on her legacy.

“She really did love horses and riding. We know the cause is close to her heart and something she can relate to.

“We wanted to make sure we did something which she would be proud of and I think we have definitely done that.”

George added: “I was so pleased with the amount we raised and so proud to give it to charity Ellie loved.”

Ellie, 17, was stabbed to death at her home in Calne on May 3.

In August Thomas Griffiths, 17, who also went to Hardenhuish School, appeared in court charged with her murder.

He first denied the charges to police but later pleaded guilty to her murder. He will be sentenced on November 7.