FRIENDS of murdered schoolgirl Ellie Gould gathered to celebrate what would have been her 18th birthday on Thursday.

They first laid flowers at a horse shaped memorial in the grounds of Hardenhuish School, Chippenham that was created last year for the pony loving teenager.

Later 11 of her closest friends went for a meal and remembered the fun loving girl who was killed in May last year.

Friend Ellie Welling, 18, said: “It was really lovely to watch the amount of people laying flowers. There were too many to count.

“The day was more difficult than we thought but as it went on it got a lot easier. Everyone just seemed to focus on the positives of celebrating Ellie’s 18th.

“In the evening we went to the Cozy Club in Bath and dressed up for the occasion.

“We tried to invite the people we thought Ellie would have wanted to celebrate her birthday with and there were 11 of some of Ellie’s closest friends. We blew out candles on a cake and shared a toast in her memory.”