A MEMORIAL bench has been unveiled for 25 year old Zoe Zaremba in the park where she loved to sit in the hope of raising awareness of autism in females who are eight times more likely to die by suicide.

Zoe, sparked a major search by emergency services in June this year when she went missing from her home in Aiskew, Bedale. Her body was found eight days later.

A plaque on the bench reads "donated by all who loved her" and was paid for through a go fund me page which raised £2,000 for the bench alongside a donation to the Daisy Chain autism charity.

Her mother Jean Zaremba worked with Bedale Town Council to put the bench in the park as a tribute and a memorial to Zoe who often used to visit the park with her in the evenings when it was quieter and they could sit on the swings. She said: "This bench is in memory of my beautiful daughter Zoe. Zoe was amazing, intelligent, caring, funny, wise beyond her years, and autistic.

"She had so much to give, and helped and supported many people, teaching them a lot about autism and sensory issues.

"Zoe and I wish to raise awareness of autism, and especially of autistic females who are often misdiagnosed or have their diagnosis of autism ignored due to the lack of understanding of autism and its presentation in females.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Zoe Zaremba

"Autistic females are at a much higher risk of suicide than the general population, they are eight times more likely to die by suicide. North Yorkshire, the biggest county in England, do not have services for adults with autism and mental health issues.

"Zoe had an impact on everyone she met and is sadly missed by everyone who knew her."

Ms Zaremba said her daughter needed help but was let down by mental health services through misdiagnosis.

The Mayor of Bedale, councillor Andrew Hallett said: "The Town Council is pleased to host this memorial bench in Bedale Park. Zoe's story touched many people within our community.

"It will provide a place for those who knew and loved her to sit and reflect on their memories of her and on what a special person she was.

"Zoe had a voice that deserved to be heard, that it was not highlights the lack of support and understanding that there is for female autism".

The Go Fund Me page was launched by Michelle Nicholson who met Zoe in 2016 when she enquired about joining cheerleading classes.

She said: "Zoe Zaremba was an inspiring young lady who had an amazing kind nature. She had a wicked sense of humour and made an amazing impression on everyone she met. She was thoughtful, caring and considerate. Zoe had Autism and overcame so many hurdles throughout her life."

After overcoming her difficulties and stepping out to perform with her squad in front of a large audience Zoe also helped as an assistant coach.

Michelle added:"We're so proud to have got to know Zoe on a personal level and as an assistant coach. She has gone too soon with her whole life ahead of her."