Nearly £3,000 was raised by friends and neighbours of the murdered schoolgirl Tia Sharp, in hope of building a memorial bench near the estate where she lived.

Organised by businessman John Sullivan, a fundraising day was held on Saturday at the New Horizon Centre, in South Lodge Avenue, Pollards Hill.

Tia, who lived on the Pollards Hill estate and attended Raynes Park High School, was discovered dead on August 10 at her grandmother’s house in New Addington, Croydon.

One of the organisers, Paula Bysouth, said: “We want a special bench, a pink metal corner unit with a canopy with Tia’s name on it.

“We will need planning permission from Merton Council but we’ve seen a similar one in Carshalton Beeches so we’re very hopeful.

“A lot of the children couldn’t say their goodbyes at the funeral so we did helium balloons where they could write their messages to Tia and send them up into the sky.

Emma Stevenson, another organiser, said the fundraising total was £2,714.79 and one of Mr Sullivan’s friends agreed to make the total £3,000.

The day included a football tournament, a bouncy castle, a blow-up slide, thanks to the hard work of Ruby Phelan, Jade Wells, Penny Wells, Stacey Mesures and Heather Keeling.

Raffle prizes were donated by Manchester United football club, who donated a shirt worn by Rio Ferdinand in the Champions League competition, and Chelsea, who donated a football signed by players.

Funds, prizes and equipment were also provided by Tesco, Asda, Canons Leisure Centre and Mitcham Golf Course, as well as Portrait Place in Colliers Wood.