England

Stab victims' mothers support 'knife angel' bid

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Media captionThe Save a Life Surrender Your Knife campaign will see the weapons incorporated into a sculpture

The mothers of three men who were fatally stabbed have backed an anti-knife campaign.

Alison Cope's 18-year-old son, rapper Joshua Ribera, was killed in September outside a nightclub in Selly Oak, in the West Midlands.

She joined the mothers of stab victims Danny Jones and David Lee Collins to support a plan to build a statue of an angel made from surrendered knives.

It is being led by the British Ironworks Centre.

Named Save A Life, Surrender Your Knife, the campaign will see each weapon turned into a feather in the 20ft-high angel's wings.

"If it's anyone who can get the message across, it's the people who have been directly affected... it starts with the parents," Ms Cope said.

She joined Lisa McNeill, mother of Danny Jones, and Lisa Minott, mother of David Lee Collins, at a meeting in Manchester, calling on gang members to hand in weapons.

'Iron angels'

The three of them will be speaking to youths on the streets of various cities over the coming months.

The project is expected to launch in Birmingham, followed by Manchester, before spreading across the rest of the UK.

The West Midlands and Greater Manchester police forces said they were aware of the project, but have not given it their official backing.

Knife banks will be placed outside community centres as part of the project, which is also recruiting community leaders and a team of volunteers known as "iron angels".

More than 30 knives have already been handed in, but "tens of thousands" are needed to build the angel, Clive Knowles, managing director of the Oswestry-based British Ironworks Centre, said.

A similar knife surrender launched in Birmingham at the beginning of the year, but saw just 16 weapons collected in its first three months, leading one campaigner to brand it "tokenistic".

Image caption Joshua Ribera, from Birmingham, Danny Jones, from Oswestry, and David Lee Collins, from Manchester were all fatally stabbed

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