Derby has been chosen as one of the cities across the country to host the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression.
Known as the ‘Knife Angel’, the spectacular 27ft sculpture, made from up to 100,000 bladed weapons collected in knife banks during police amnesties across the country, will be based next to the Cathedral on Irongate, for 28 days in October later this year.
Created in collaboration with all 43 police forces, the Home Office, Anti-violence groups and hundreds of families who have been affected by knife crime, the monument is a symbol of the nation’s intolerance to violence and aggression.
It was created by the British Ironwork Centre, by sculptor Alfie Bradley to highlight the impact knife crime has on people, families and communities.
Relatives of those killed by knife crime were invited to engrave the blades with names and messages for their loved ones as part of the sculpture.
One such relative is local woman, Rachel Webb. Rachel’s son, Tom, was 22-years-old when he was stabbed and killed in St Peter’s Street, Derby by a 16-year-old boy in January 2016. Later that year Rachel supported an amnesty held across Derbyshire and knives from this amnesty were donated towards the creation of the sculpture.
“I am thrilled to learn that the Knife Angel is coming to Derby. It’s an emotive thought-provoking monument, which is helping to educate and raise awareness of the increasing knife crime epidemic on Britain’s streets.
“As a mother who has personally been devastated by the murder of my beautiful son Tom, I am deeply grateful to the many organisations and individuals involved in bringing the Knife Angel to our community. It’s my hope that the Angel will encourage open conversations in homes, differing community groups and schools, helping our young people to understand the horrific consequences of carrying and using a knife.
“I, like so many other murder victims’ families living daily with such unmeasurable pain, have inscribed my son’s name on a blade on the Angel. Tom’s name is surrounded my many names, lives also taken due to unnecessary acts of violence. I feel that the Knife Angel stands tall in honour of all our dearly loved and missed, it is also a beacon of hope lighting the way forward for much needed urgent change. “
The Knife Angel is being brought to Derby by a group of agencies and organisations across the city, including: Derby Cathedral, Derbyshire Police, Derby City Council, Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa and University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.
Mr Jack Atwal, Project Manager for the group working, said:
“We are very pleased that the Knife Angel is coming to Derby.
“The sculpture is very much a symbol for the pain and feelings that friends and family have for those involved in any violent crime and we hope it can be used as a beacon to shine a light on the futility of such actions.
“For the 28 days that the sculpture is in the city we hope it will be used as a catalyst for a range of activities, particularly aimed at young people, to divert them away from knife crime and violence.
“We are encouraging any local groups working to reduce knife and violent crime who would like to be involved to make contact with us.
“We are also keen for as many people as possible to come and view the sculpture, particularly to learn about its aims and to show solidarity against violence and aggression.”
Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council said:
“I’m delighted that Derby has been chosen to host ‘The Knife Angel’ . The sculpture is a powerful visual symbol and we hope that all who see it, especially young people, will reflect on pain and suffering caused by knife crime and think about how they can make a difference.
“We have worked very hard with our partner agencies to bring this important piece to the Cathedral and I’d like to thank them all for their hard work. I encourage everyone to take time to come and see it in October.”
The exact date for the arrival of the Knife Angel is being finalised but will be on or around October 1, 2019.
The organising group are grateful to a small group of local business who have offered their help and expertise, including: Bowmer and Kirkland, Mercia Image Ltd, Greendog, Work Wallet, QSC Signs and Graphics, Total Hire and Sales, G Wathall and Son Ltd and Silver X Logistics.
They are also keen for other volunteers to be involved in the project, particularly in being able to act as information marshals at the sculpture. Full training will be provided and anyone interested is urged to make contact.
If you are interested in volunteering or represent a group that would like to be interested in the programme of activities please contact the organising group on firstname.lastname@example.org