CHILDHOOD friends of Margaret Fleming have teamed up to create a fitting memorial for their 'beautiful' classmate who was murdered by her carers.

The group of former Slaemuir Primary School pupils want Margaret to be remembered as the kind, caring and lovely girl she was and not just for her tragic death.

They have launched an online Crowdfunding page to raise money for a lasting tribute to Margaret, with plans for a memorial bench or a purple-themed community garden - the colours of her old primary school.

As Margaret loved music, her friends are also looking into the possibility of holding a fundraising music concert.

Gillian Sherrard McCulloch is spearheading the fundraising and has set up a Facebook group for people who knew Margaret to talk about their happy memories of her and discuss ideas.

She said: "We were all talking about doing something for Margaret so I set up the page for everybody to get together.

"Everybody was pals with Margaret and we all looked out for her at school.

"Margaret was a lovely girl who so many of us thought about over the years - we never forgot Margaret.

"Some of us tried to find her on social media and asked about her but no one was able to make contact and all just assumed that she just wasn’t on social media.

"Now the only reason other people know Margaret is because of what happened to her and you hear the names of the ones who did this and I don't think it's right.

"It should be all about Margaret."

Jon Cox, who was also in Margaret's primary school class, said she was a beautiful person.

He said: "I was in disbelief about Margaret - I thought it can't be true.

"I was quite close to her at school and actually invited her to the P7 school dance.

"I remember her dad picking us up and Margaret's mum was crying because she was overwhelmed that someone had invited her daughter to the dance.

"Margaret was pure love, there was no malice or no hate in her.

"For those who know the book 'Of Mice and Men' Margaret was a bit like Lennie.

"She was a lovely human being, very quiet and timid even to the people who knew her.

"She always gave you a big heartfelt smile - she was a beautiful person."

Gillian also fondly remembers when Jon took Margaret to the dance.

She added: "Everybody loved Margaret's dad because he had this army style Jeep and he used to come and pick Margaret up from school.

"I remember when Jon and Margaret were dropped off at the dance in the Jeep - everybody was so jealous."

Jon, who moved to England in 1998, said a lot of people who knew Margaret from school can't help but feel a sense of guilt.

He added: "I remember trying to find Margaret online back in the days of Bebo and Myspace on the internet.

"I wondered if she had settled down and got married.

"One of my good friends, who has since died, went to college with Margaret so for a while I used to find out how Margaret was through her.

"Myself and Gillian and a couple of others tried to find where she was.

"If we knew then what we know now, we would've raised the alarm."

Jon thinks a lasting tribute would bring some closure to everyone who knew Margaret.

He said: "When I spoke to Gillian and Lynn we felt that it's so important to do something in memory of Margaret.

"A lot of people haven't had any closure and there is a wee bit of guilt associated.

"I think a few people have the feeling that we could have tried harder to find her."

Another ex-classmate Lynn Foreman, who is also helping with the fundraising, said: "As Slaemuir Primary was such a small school we all helped her out.

"We were like a family and everyone can remember her.

"I remember Margaret, she was lovely, she didn't have any badness in her and she was really kind.

"She was happy if everyone else was happy, she looked out for other people, was such a caring girl and so gentle.

"My mum used to be a parent helper and she used to love it if Margaret was in her group as she was lovely and never caused any bother.

"Her gran and granda just adored her.

"I also remember the teachers who looked out for her at school, especially Mr McCormick.

"He was really kind and used to organise school trips to ensure that Margaret got a lot out of it."

Lynn says the memorial plan has received lots of support.

She said: "We started off thinking that we would maybe plant a tree but the support has been amazing and a lot of people feel as though it would be great to have a memory garden and maybe a concert as she loved music at school."

One of their former teachers at Slaemuir, Elizabeth Blair - who was Miss Hotchkin at the time - has also lent her support.

Lynn said: "Miss Hotchkin contacted us to say she'd taken plants from Slaemuir Primary before it was demolished and she would donate them for Margaret's memorial.

"It's so fitting."

The fundraising plans are still being developed but one idea is to have a tribute to Margaret at Craigmarloch School with some of the money also being donated there to support the pupils.

Anyone who would like to donate can do so online at