A candle-lit peace vigil will be held this Thursday to mark the arrival of the Knife Angel sculpture outside Blackburn Cathedral.
Peace vigil to mark the arrival of the Knife Angel outside Blackburn Cathedral
It is the first event in a month-long awareness programme to spark conversation, education and reflection, and to raise awareness of the impact of knife crime on our communities.
Candles will be available for anyone who would like to attend the peace vigil and make an act of remembrance for anyone in Lancashire, including those who have lost loved ones through knife crime or been affected by knife crime in other ways.
There will also be statements from interfaith representatives and civic leaders.
The Dean of Blackburn, the Very Revd Peter Howell-Jones said.
“This imposing sculpture is a stark reminder of the impact that violence and aggression, and particularly knife crime, has upon the lives of individuals and communities.
“During its time here with us, we are privileged to be able to welcome people from across Lancashire to a series of workshops and interactive events to help stimulate dialogue, education and reflection and to help inspire change and hope within our society. “
The 27-feet tall Knife Angel, also known as the National Monument against Violence and Aggression, has been created by artist Alfie Bradley and the British Ironworks Centre and is formed from 100,000 seized knives and blades.
The Knife Angel will be in position outside Blackburn Cathedral from 4 to 29 November. There is a knife box sited next to the sculpture for people to surrender their blades.
Andrew Snowden, Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, commented:
“Knife crime affects entire communities, not just the individuals who carry knives and those who, sadly, use them. This peace vigil is particularly poignant in light of recent events and is an opportunity for all our communities to stand together in solidarity against violent crime of this nature, and to commit to do whatever we can to deter our loved ones from carrying knives.
“A knife box will be sited next to the Knife Angel and I encourage anyone who carries a knife to surrender their blade. My message to anyone thinking of carrying a knife is simple. Don’t do it. You are so much more likely to become a victim yourself and the potential to cause serious injury is huge, even if you don’t intend to. More than that, carrying an offensive weapon is a serious offence and our officers are out there to take action and deal with offenders robustly.”
The Leader of Blackburn with Darwen, Coun Mohammed Khan CBE, said:
“I am thankful that Blackburn has been able to host this amazing artwork that acts as a conversation starter around why people carry knives as weapons.
“I would urge everyone to come into Blackburn town centre to see this imposing artwork up close, and to get involved in the various awareness and education activities. Taking part may just help you start a conversation that deters someone from knife crime and potentially saves lives.”
Det Ch Supt Sue Clarke, Head of the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network, said:
“The education programme has a focus on prevention – how we can all play a part in raising awareness of knife crime and deterring our loved ones from getting involved.
“We are determined to make the most of the opportunities the Knife Angel brings, to engage our local communities in discussions about the devastating impacts of knife and violent crime.”
The Revd Canon Dr Rowena Pailing, Vice Dean & Canon Missioner at Blackburn Cathedral, has worked closely with the British Ironworks Centre to bring the Knife Angel to Lancashire and she added:
“After months of preparations, we’re looking forward to welcoming the Knife Angel to Lancashire during November.
“The various education activities and awareness sessions are open to everyone from across the county. Anyone of all faiths and none is welcome at the cathedral to take part in this programme.”
The peace vigil on Thursday 4 November, starts at 5.45pm.
The Knife Crime Lancashire project is a partnership between the Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner’s Office, Lancashire Violence Reduction Network, Blackburn Cathedral and Blackburn with Darwen Council.