Police chiefs, teachers, TV stars and even a reformed gang member were on hand to help launch the Billy’s Wish Anti Knife Crime Education Programme in Hemel Hempstead.
Held at Lockers Park School, the launch was an introduction to the scheme that will be rolled out in schools across Dacorum at the start of the next academic year.
Trustees of Billy’s Wish – a charity set up after the fatal stabbing of 21-year-old Billy Dove in Hemel Hempstead’s town centre in November 2011 – enlisted the help of film company Boldface Productions and education experts to create the programme that will teach pupils about the dangers and consequences of knife crime and carrying weapons.
Three short films were produced to target youngsters in school Years 6, 7, and 8 – all of which are presented by reformed gang member Chris Preddie OBE.
At the launch, Mr Preddie spoke about the importance of educating youngsters about knife crime, saying: “It’s up to all of us to make a difference; teachers, parents, police, authorities – we are all responsible.”
Actress Brooke Kinsella MBE – whose brother Ben was killed in a knife attack in 2008 – was also present at the launch which was hosted by former county councillor Jan Maddern.
“We are absolutely delighted at how well the launch of our education programme was received,” said Jan.
“With 30 representatives from local schools attending along with police, politicians and local media, we have reached a very wide audience in advance of the programme being distributed for the new school year.”
“As soon as I came off the stage, I had a queue of people offering support and assistance with funding for the project.
“Police chiefs have also given their endorsement so we couldn’t have hoped for a more successful outcome.”