Schoolchildren are being bussed in to see it, there’s a conference organised to look at ways to tackle it, a book to pledge yourself to it, and a national service of commemoration planned to bring together victims’ families to pay solemn tribute to those who have lost their lives to it.
The Knife Angel at Rochester Cathedral has become the focal point of education, reflection, remembrance and prayer in Medway and north west Kent with a month of activities designed to confront local communities with the facts and consequences of knife crime, and offer a place to reflect, to pray and to remember.
The striking national monument against violence and aggression is 27 ft high and made from 100,000 knives confiscated from 43 police forces across the country by artist artist Alfie Bradley and the British Ironwork Centre
Today (Friday 13 September) the church has organized a one-day conference at the Historic Dockyard, Chatham and is bringing together academics and specialists to work towards “an achievable solution” to the knife crime epidemic.
Knife crime in Kent has seen the biggest rise in the country over the past five years. Offences are up by 152 per cent since 2011 and the latest victim was stabbed to death outside a nightclub in Maidstone on the bank holiday weekend. He was 21 years old.
A local bus company has organised free buses to bring schoolchildren for special viewings of the Knife Angel at the Cathedral where they are asked to pledge themselves to never carrying a knife.
The cathedral has an exhibition of photographs of those who have lost their lives to knife crime and on Sunday 21 September it will hold a national service of commemoration to remember all those victims and their families.
The Dean of Rochester, the Very Revd Phillip Hesketh said: We are fortunate to have the Knife Angel here at the Cathedral. It has already visited many other cathedrals and has provided a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of the devastating effects of knife crime.
“We hope that it will bring people together in Medway to address what is becoming a national crisis.”
It is the first time the sculpture has been installed in the south east. It has already appeared in front of Liverpool and Coventry Cathedrals as it moves the country in the hopes to add to the conversation around knife crime.
Knife Angel will be at Derby and Gloucester cathedrals later this autumn.
National service of commemoration for all victims of knife crime; their families, friends and anyone affected.