The Knife Angel monument will be officially unveiled in Market Place, Nuneaton on Thursday, 1 June starting at 7pm.
Made from over 100,000 seized blades, the sculpture was specifically created to highlight the negative effects of violent behaviour, whilst also being a beautiful memorial designed to celebrate the lives that have been lost.
The statue’s unveiling will mark a month-long focus on preventing violence and aggression. It will be attended by honoured guest Dr Neville Staple, founding member of the Specials, and his wife Sugary, whose grandson was killed in Coventry.
Nuneaton Police Inspector Kris Shore said: “The arrival of the Knife Angel will hopefully give people a chance to have conversations that need to be had – whether that’s round the dinner table, in the classroom, with support workers or with friends on the streets.
“The Angel is a thought-provoking piece of art that highlights the negative effects of all violent behaviour, showing us that there is a real need for social change.
“I would like to encourage as many people as possible to come to the see the statue being unveiled. Knife crime is an issue that we can all play our part in solving, whether that be someone choosing to stop carrying, to the parent, teacher, friend, or support worker who starts that conversation that leads to someone making the right decision.”
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, together with Warwickshire Police and Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe, who have brought this project to life, will be facilitating activities throughout the month to bring the message home to residents of the Borough.
The activities will include knife crime engagement awareness workshops for parents and students taking place at primary and secondary schools across the area. There will also be various community and school art projects, and knife surrender bins will be in place at various locations across the borough for people to anonymously dispose of knives or other bladed items.
Visitors to the Knife Angel monument are invited to leave their own personal message of remembrance too. These will be displayed on the fence that surrounds the monument. Message tags will be available on market days between 10am until 2pm from the NABSCOP (Nuneaton and Bedworth Safer Communities Partnership) market stall, where, on Wednesdays, community safety items will also be given out.
Anyone with an interest in photography at any level is also encouraged to enter the Knife Angel Photography Competition. The competition offers individuals the chance to get creative behind the lens and take a great picture of the nationally famous Knife Angel, with the winner receiving the coveted Knife Angel trophy.
The month-long Knife Angel project will culminate in a special vigil at the monument to remember those who have lost their lives to knife crime. Anti-violence campaigner and Knife Crime Victim Support founder, Quinton Green, will be a special guest at this congregation of reflection which will take place on Thursday 29 June at 6pm.
At the unveiling, Councillor Clare Golby and members of the Borough Council communities team, as well as partners from Nuneaton and Bedworth Police who are collectively responsible for bringing this iconic statue to the Borough will be there, along with Clive Knowles, Chairman of the British Ironwork Centre who created the sculpture with artist Alfie Bradley, along with other invited guests and lots of residents from the Borough.
Cllr Clare Golby, Chair of Nuneaton and Bedworth Safer Communities Partnership, said:
“It’s wonderful to be able to finally see the Knife Angel project all coming together. I’m really looking forward to the monument taking a prominent position in our borough and welcome everyone who wants to come along to this event opening and to the vigil later in the month.
“The Knife Angel visit gives us a chance as a community to come together, not only to reflect but also educate people on the devastating effects of knife crime and violent behaviour, including domestic abuse. Many community awareness activities have been planned for the month and we would love as many people to get involved as possible. Please keep an eye on our website for updates of the events taking place. Most of all, if you are a victim please reach out and get help. There are lots of places where you will be supported.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe added: “I’m delighted to be joining partners in supporting the visit of the Knife Angel to Nuneaton. It is a dramatic sculpture and I encourage people from across the whole county to come and see it during June. I’m sure it will generate many conversations about the devastating effects of carrying a knife and other forms of violence. That’s why the programme of engagement which has been organised across the whole month is so important. I hope the Knife Angel’s visit generates a lasting impact and can bring about a positive change in behaviours, particularly for young people.”
Funding for the project has been supplied by the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) via Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, and from Warwickshire Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
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