Families of Connor Brown and Nikki Allan speak about impact of knife crime as they attend unveiling of poignant Knife Angel sculpture
The mums of Connor Brown and Nikki Allan have spoken about the impact of crime on their families at the unveiling of the Knife Angel sculpture.
On Thursday, January 30, the 27ft sculpture, crafted out of 100,000 surrendered knives, was unveiled at The Sage, Gateshead.
Artist Alfie Bradley worked with The British Ironwork Centre to create the angel. It came to Gateshead following a campaign by Alison Madgin, whose 18-year-old daughter Samantha died in 2007.
Crowds gathered at the emotional event to remember those who have lost their lives across the region.
Sunderland lad Connor Brown, 18, died after being fatally stabbed on a night out in Sunderland city centre last February.
His parents Tanya and Simon Brown plan to get their son’s name engraved on the back of the sculpture.
They also placed a wreath with his photo there on Thursday.
Tanya said: “I’m pleased we came. It is just amazing to have it so close to home.
“It means so much to be here but it’s hard at the same time. We just hope it hits home.
“If it stops one person, then it’s worth its weight. That’s what it’s all about - people getting the message and its prevention of having to go through this.
“No family should have to suffer like this.
“We are in the process of setting up a charity in Connor’s name and we’re going to aim towards preventing crime with younger people.
“We hope that Connor’s name will live in the hearts of everybody.”
October last year marked 27 years since the body of seven-year-old Nikki Allan was found in a derelict building in Wear Garth, Sunderland, in October 1992. She had been stabbed 37 times.
Her mum Sharon Henderson, who also attended the unveiling, said: “I’m finally getting support after 27 years and it means a lot to my children.
“Today has felt emotional but I hope the Government will take this crime seriously now. It’s so horrendous in Britain.
“It’s unbelievable how families have to suffer. I’m one of the families who try to help those others but I’m lost now because there’s more and more who are affected.
“I’m there for support and always will be.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, outlined the force’s new approach with its specialist Violence Reduction Unit.
The plan is to treat violence as a disease, and to stop it from spreading.
She said: “Our region is relatively safe, but any life put at risk or lost to knife crime is one too many, and we know, the police know and more than anyone, the families of those lost know that we have to work to keep our region safe.”
She also addressed those with worries that the Knife Angel “isn’t a pretty sculpture” and added: “It’s meant to be imposing, to provoke something in you.
“It’s meant to make you feel emotional and uncomfortable.”
The angel will remain outside The Sage until Thursday February 27.
It will then continue its tour to educate on the impact of knife crime.