AN online petition - launched in memory of tragic Bacup girl Sophie Lancaster - calling for violence against goths and emos to be made 'a hate crime' has attracted more than 1,500 names.

The petition comes as Sophie's family and friends today (MON) prepare to celebrate the former Haslingden High School pupil's life in a humanist service at the Riverside Centre in Whitworth.

It has been lodged on the Prime Minister's website and urges Gordon Brown to consider extending the definition of hate crimes to include violence against goths and emos.

The petition reads: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to widen the definition of hate Crime', to include crimes committed against a person or persons, on the basis of their appearance or subcultural interests.

"In remembering the case of a Lancashire couple, who received an horrific beating, for the way they were dressed and, in which an innocent young woman lost her life, the alternative and gothic community puts forward that the definition of hate crimes should expand to protect subcultural people where the law is concerned."

It added: "People who prefer 'darker' fashions; who sport facial piercings, alternative make-up or dyed hair regularly experience being singled out on these grounds, by the less tolerant.

"When this escalates to physical attack and, in this instance, death of an innocent person, it is clearly unacceptable."

Sophie died in hospital two weeks after she was attacked in Stubbylee Park, Bacup, along with her boyfriend, Robert Maltby.

Her heartbroken mother Sylvia has established SOPHIE (Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere) to call for greater understanding for marginalised sections of society.

Later this month another memorial concert - this time in Blackpool - has been arranged in memory of Sophie.

The Misery of Sound event at the resort's West Coast Rock Café, is taking place on November 16.

Memorial concerts have also taken place recently in Bacup and Blackburn, with promoters selling black ribbons in memory of Sophie.

Five youths aged 15 to 17 are awaiting trial charged with the murder of Sophie and causing grievous bodily harm to her boyfriend Robert Maltby.