Father of stabbing victim James Brindley calls for stand to end 'cycle of pain'

The father of a man who was stabbed to death has urged everyone to make a stand against knife crime and end the cycle of “pain”.

Mark Brindley, father of James Brindley, next to a mural that BW Tattoo Studio in Aldridge
Mark Brindley, father of James Brindley, next to a mural that BW Tattoo Studio in Aldridge

Mark Brindley’s son James, aged 26, was killed while innocently walking home in Aldridge following a night out in June 2017.

The James Brindley Foundation was set up in the aftermath in a bid to help tackle the root causes of youth violence and knife crime.

Now Mark has called for more to be done to tackle the issue, as the foundation looks at a new project, backed by a fundraising event, to support young people.

He said: “[The rising levels of knife crime] is difficult to deal with because it takes us back to that day four years ago and it makes us get nauseous and we get knots in our stomachs – and we think about families in particular and that they’re going through what we’re going through. We want them to stop it from happening

“I do think so much more has got to be done. That’s not just from organisations like the VRU (Violence Reduction Unit), the Government, but society as a whole has got to get a hold of the fact this can happen to anybody anywhere. It’s not just gang related – James is proof of that fact. It can happen to anyone.

“Everyone has to buy into making a stand – standing with us is what we’re asking for, so we can develop our programmes to bring this to an end.”

James Brindley was aged 26 when he was killed

A fundraising event was held at a tattoo studio in the Black Country in memory of much-loved fitness instructor James.

Mr Brindley was stabbed as he walked home in Aldridge on June 23, 2017, having been chatting to his girlfriend on the phone.

The death of Mr Brindley led to his family setting up The James Brindley Foundation to raise awareness of knife crime and youth violence.

It has seen education programmes developed for children and young people to prevent them from falling into anti-social or criminal lifestyles.

And now an event has been held to help towards the creation of The James Brindley Youth Academy which aims to provide young people with "hope".

Mark Brindley with staff at BW Tattoo Studio, Rookery Lane, Aldridge

People gathered at B.W Tattoo Studio on Rookery Lane on Sunday for tattoos from 9.30am right through to 6pm in aid of the foundation.

Mark Brindley added:"It was a resounding success, it really was. All the stations were booked either with people who had booked online or people who turned up on the day. There were five stations and the tattoo artists were working non-stop throughout the day.

"We raised £1,440 which the studio topped up to a neat £1,500 which was really beyond our expectations,and everyone had a great time, and either had tattoos they wanted of their own design, or had one of the foundation's designs which a number of people did.

"It was quite an emotional time to see how people had responded to only our second fundraising event since lockdown. The money [from the event] is going to a new project called The James Brindley Youth Academy and we see that as an extension of the The James Brindley Full Circle Programme.

"In the full circle programme, we develop a conversation with individuals around their interests and hobbies and if they don't have any we introduce them to new interests. With the youth academy, we want to take that a step further and what's motivating us is that knife crime continues to rise unabated. It's a hot topic but not an easy one to discuss, it's not a nice subject but there's an awful lot of young people who are disengaged with education – either they don't recognise the value of the education or the relevance to their futures.

"They might have been expelled and they're young people without hope for the future. They are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and we know there's a clear link between expulsion and knife crime."

Mark and Beverley Brindley unveiling Walsall's first knife surrender bin last month

The youth academy will be set up for young people disenfranchised with education and will offer them opportunities to explore their interests, their aptitudes and natural abilities – and will be a gateway to apprenticeships and employment by building on what inspires each individual.

"It's to develop hope for young people who are disenfranchised with education and to show they can have a life away from gangs, they can have a life away from crime," the 61-year-old added.

There is also an aspiration for a headquarters dedicated to the foundation's work to be set up in a building which would also have a "social space" where one-to-one talks could be carried out.

People can donate to The James Brindley Foundation through a range of ways by visiting their website – with people able to donate through AmazonSmile, where a donation is made each time they shop with Amazon at no additional cost through the website.

And they can take part in two upcoming fundraising events, with the first being Jim's Big Fish at Curborough Fishery, on Watery Lane in Lichfield, on August 29 with a few places still available.

The 10k Wolf Run is set to return in Warwickshire on September 5 for a second year – with the first held in 2019, with the largest team of supporters – around 145 – taking on the challenge.

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