Powerful speeches resonate at Lichfield’s Knife Angel launch
The famous Knife Angel sculpture was officially welcomed to Lichfield today (Saturday 1 July) with a special launch event in the city centre.
The 27 ft tall monument, which is made from more than 100,000 blades collected by police across the country, arrived yesterday and will remain in its position on open space next to District Council House in Frog Lane throughout July.
Created to raise awareness of knife crime and serve as a tribute to people who have lost their lives to it, the sculpture’s visit is part of the National Youth Anti-Violence Tour of towns and cities in the UK.
At the launch a welcome was made by Yvonne James, Principal Community Safety Officer at Lichfield District Council, and the Knife Angel was introduced by Clive Knowles, Chair of the British Ironworks Centre which commissioned the sculpture.
Clive presented a Knife Angel plaque to Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and awards to Staffordshire’s Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime Ben Adams – the award received on his behalf by his Deputy, Helen Fisher – and Lichfield’s Community Safety Partnership.
Funding for the Knife Angel has come from the Locality Deal Fund, provided by Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime Ben Adams, which Lichfield District Community Safety Partnership allocated to the initiative.
The Leader of Lichfield District Council, Doug Pullen, had awards for Clive Knowles and Beverley and Mark Brindley and Kristy and Rob Freckleton in recognition of their work campaigning against knife crime.
There were also powerful speeches from Natalie Queiroz, a campaigner who survived an horrific knife attack in 2016 and Paula Reynolds, whose son survived serious injuries after he was stabbed when out socialising. These were followed by an address by Natalie McGrath, PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) Coordinator for Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth services.
Young rapper Harvster, 11, conveyed his thoughts about knife crime brilliantly through rhyme before Yvonne James summarised activities running through the month ahead including the installation of knife bins in the district, bleed kit training, engagement days and a family Knife Angel Trail in the city centre.
Councillor Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, said:
“When Yvonne James approach me (about bring the Knife Angel to Lichfield) I had no hesitation in saying yes.
“We live in a leafy area where we consider knife crime does not happen, but it does.
“It can happen anywhere, and it is important we are on board with getting the message across.
“The Knife Angel is here for a month – spread the word.”
Clive Knowles, Chair of the British Ironworks Centre, said Lichfield is the 42nd location for the Angel to arrive at.
“There are a lot of towns and cities across the UK that are not as courageous as Lichfield has been in dealing with these social issues.
“So, I am proud of Lichfield. It is a leading light for towns and cities of this sort of size. I salute you for being so brave.”