SHE WAS a pupil at Redbridge Community School for only a year - but made a lasting impression on staff and fellow students alike.

Now a quiet corner of the school grounds has been turned into a horticultural retreat as a memorial to the popular 13-year-old whose life was cruelly cut short last summer.

Lucy Garden’s, which will open after the new term starts in September, will give her friends a place where they can sit and reflect.

A large rainbow-coloured sign has been placed at the entrance to the site.

Below it is a family shield based on a design discovered in one of Lucy’s schoolbooks after she died. It includes references to a US rock band called Falling In Reverse, her family and friends, and her favourite animal - the fox.

The irony is not lost on the school’s head teacher, Jason Ashley.

Much time and effort has gone into preventing foxes from targeting one of the garden’s main features - a coop housing ten chickens bought from a farm in the New Forest.

The half-acre site bordering the A33 also includes benches made by the students, a fruit and vegetable garden and a semi-wild area.

One of the raised beds is called Lucy’s Place, a memorial comprising a variety of flowers surrounded by lavender, renowned for its calming effect.

The £5,000 garden has been created over the past few months, with most of the work being done in-house.

Mr Ashley said: “There was something quite unique about Lucy and the students wanted to do something in her memory.

“I felt the kids needed something physical - somewhere they could go if they wanted to sit and reflect.

“They love the new garden. I took my own daughters there a couple of weekends ago to feed the chickens and they really liked it too.”

Mr Ashley made a light-hearted reference to the absence of two colours Lucy regarded as her favourites.

“She’d have had a little moan about there not being enough red and black in there, but I think she would have loved it,” he said.

The school is still coming to terms with the horrific events which unfolded one day in July last year.

“Everyone was absolutely devastated when they learned Lucy had been murdered - even members of staff who didn’t know her were severely affected,” said Mr Ashley.

“She was a really intelligent girl, who had aspirations to succeed in life. She was very confident and knew what she wanted.” In many ways talking to her was like talking to a young adult.”

Lucy initially found it difficult to settle at Redbridge but began to excel and ended up performing in top sets. Mr Ashley described her performance as “exceptional”.

“Lucy had a brilliant year with us,” he said. “If she’d still been here I think she’d have done really well.”