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Anniversary of the Knife Angel’s visit to Derby

Today, Thursday, 1 October marks the one-year anniversary of the start of the visit to Derby of the Knife Angel.

The striking sculpture, which is the National Monument against Violence and Aggression, is made up to 100,000 bladed weapons collected during police surrender schemes.

It was created at the British Ironwork Centre by sculptor Alfie Bradley to highlight the impact violent crime, particularly those involving knives, has on people, families and communities.

Wathall’s funeral directors were amongst the community-focused businesses across Derbyshire who worked together to bring the 27ft ‘Knife Angel’ sculpture to the city.

Wathall’s helped sponsor the transportation of the statue and has also provided tags for visitors to leave personal messages.  The plan is for these to be incorporated into a lasting tribute in the Cathedral.

Helen Wathall, managing director and fifth generation of her family to run the company, was amongst the speakers at a service to mark the event where she highlighted her experience of the particularly traumatic impact on families of sudden and violent deaths including young people who are victims of knife crime.

Helen said: “The installation of the Knife Angel in Derby was incredibly poignant and particularly encouraged people to talk about knife crime which is an important step forward if we are going to tackle this as a society.”

Here is a link to a short film to highlight the successes of the visit.

The film features the voice of Rachel Webb, whose son Tom was killed in Derby in January 2016, as a result of a knife attack. Her words are taken from an interview she gave to BBC Radio Derby at the time of the visit.

It includes the following facts:

  • More than 200,000 people visited the Knife Angel during the month it was in Derby
  • 130 volunteers were trained and gave up their time to inform visitors of the danger of carrying a knife
  • 1,273 handwritten tags were written with heart-felt personal messages
  • 23 special educational events were held to discuss knife crime.

Rachel Morris, Diocesan Secretary & Derby Cathedral Chapter Steward, Chief Executive Diocesan Board of Finance, said: “Derby Cathedral were humbled and honoured to host the Knife Angel in Derby. The perseverance and hard work of key partners, generous sponsors and wonderful volunteers brought the project together in a way which benefitted the many thousands of visitors who experienced and were affected by the statue.”

Superintendent Sarah McAughtrie, from Derbyshire police, said: “I have spoken to a number of people that attended who said what a real sense of emotion they felt, thinking about all the people that have lost their lives due to this senseless crime.

“The carrying of knives is still an issue in society and as part of the legacy of the knife angel’s visit we continue to work tirelessly as a police service, with our partners and the community, to tackle the problem”.

Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “It would be hard for anyone who saw the Knife Angel not to be moved by it. It is a potent symbol of a blight that is sweeping the nation, but also acts as a catalyst for change. I hope that by bringing it to Derby we have started conversations, and not just in education settings but also in homes.”