Damilola Anti-Knife Campaign Begin

Home Secretary John Reid and Premiership footballer Rio Ferdinand are helping to launch an anti-knife campaign on the sixth anniversary of the death of Damilola Taylor. The Respect Your Life Not A Knife campaign hopes to convince youngsters not to carry blades in a bid to reduce street violence.

Damilola’s father Richard will also be at the launch of the event at London’s City Hall, along with the capital’s mayor Ken Livingstone and Labour MP for Peckham Harriet Harman.

Damilola Taylor bled to death aged just 10 on November 27 2000 after being stabbed with a broken beer bottle on a run-down estate in Peckham, south east London.

He had only been in the country for four months when he was killed, having arrived in Britain with his mother Gloria, sister Bemi and brother Tunde in August 2000.

On the first anniversary of his death, Mr and Mrs Taylor launched the Damilola Taylor Trust at the suggestion of Peckham-born footballer Ferdinand.

The Trust works to reduce youth crime in inner city communities and is the driving force behind the new knife campaign.

As part of the initiative every school in the country will be encouraged to build a “wall pledge” in honour of Damilola’s memory. It is hoped the displays, which could contain poems, comments and thoughts, will also help teach young people about the dangers of carrying knives.

A Trust spokesman said: “The aim is to get kids to interact so a pledge wall can be made anywhere in the school. Statistics show that the vast majority of knife crime injuries are caused when kids carry them to defend themselves and then they are used against them.”

Brothers Danny and Ricky Preddie were given eight-year youth custody sentences last month after being convicted of Damilola’s manslaughter.