Express & Star

'Knife crime can happen anywhere' warning as Knife Angel arrives in Lichfield

A famous sculpture made from more than 100,000 blades seized by police across the country has been welcomed to Lichfield today.

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The Knife Angel will be in Lichfield throughout July.

The Knife Angel stands at 27ft tall and was created to raise awareness of knife crime and pay tribute to people who have lost their lives to it.

Arriving into Lichfield on Friday, the sculpture will remain in its position next to District Council House in Frog Lane throughout July.

The sculpture’s visit is part of the National Youth Anti-Violence Tour of towns and cities in the UK, and was celebrated in Lichfield with a special launch event in the city centre.

There were powerful speeches at the event from Natalie Queiroz, a campaigner who survived an horrific knife attack while eight months pregnant in 2016, and Paula Reynolds, whose son survived serious injuries after he was stabbed when out socialising.

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.”

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 Ironwork Centre which commissioned the sculpture.

Clive presented a Knife Angel plaque to Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council’s cabinet member for community engagement.

He also gave awards to Lichfield’s Community Safety Partnership and Staffordshire’s Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue Crime, Ben Adams, which was accepted on his behalf by his deputy, Helen Fisher.

The leader of Lichfield District Council, Doug Pullen, had awards for Clive Knowles, as well as Beverley and Mark Brindley, and Kristy and Rob Freckleton, in recognition of their work campaigning against knife crime.

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.

Clive Knowles, Chair of the British Ironwork Centre, said Lichfield is the 42nd location for the Angel to arrive at.

He said: “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.”