Grace Millane: Hundreds of handbags donated to New Zealand House in London as part of charity appeal

Hundreds of handbags have been donated to New Zealand House in London as part of an appeal by the family of murdered backpacker Grace Millane. 

They've all been filled with toiletry essentials and will be given to victims at Britain's Women's Refuge. 

'Grace's garden' has blossomed in an empty office at New Zealand House; the brainchild of Loryn Cooper, who put out a call at the beginning of the week for people to donate handbags.

"Her family, they have told me she had a huge love of handbags. So it was very appropriate, very apt, to continue that," Cooper says.

Each one has been lovingly filled with essential toiletries and other items, all of which has been donated as well. This includes shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste. 

They will all be given to Women's Refuge to help with the rehabilitation of domestic violence victims as part of a charity set up by the Millane family called Love, Grace.

"To create something out of such a dark place and turn it into something beautiful to match the way their daughter is and was, to continue in that light is a nice way to keep everyone aware of Grace," says Cooper.

While most bags trickle in one by one throughout the week, but there was the odd surprise, like 30 bags from a local closing-down sale. Others gave up more than just handbags, like Kiwi Heather Neeson.

"I walked in and there was people filling bags and looking busy, so I thought if they wanted an extra pair of hands, I'd chip in."

This appeal makes sure Grace's legacy is one of love. Perfect then that the garden was full of bloom on Valentine's Day.

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