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Real LifeBack to knives home

Read about how knife crime affects people's lives

Ann Oakes-Odger holding a portrait of her son, Westley.Ann Oakes-Odger is a tireless campaigner against knife crime and a great supporter of Essex Police's 2SMART roadshows and 2SMART 4 Knives.

Her life has been deeply affected by knife crime after her son Westley was stabbed to death at a cash point machine in Colchester in 2005.

Since then, Ann has been doing all she can to raise awareness of knife crime and the devastation it can bring.

Ann writes: "The 2SMART roadshows, which now cover knife crime as well as other important issues are absolutely dynamic . . . adults love the content just as much as the schoolchildren.

"I consider the 2SMART programme of huge importance, especially given that young people are our future citizens. It is clear from the schoolchildren's response at each event that they are simply 'wowed' . . but, most rewarding to me is how they've responded to the issues in particular. They say openly that they do not ever want to carry a knife!

"Sadly, the carrying of bladed weapons by some young people is often in the foolish belief that it will protect them if they are threatened. I cannot emphasise enough that the reverse is true . . . far too many serious injuries are sustained with the victim's own weapon. It only takes the wrong thing said . . . and a tradegy can happen, that could have been avoided."

For more information about Ann and the work she does within schools, visit the Online Knife Crimes Resource Website: www.KnifeCrimes.org

Angels singing in the sky - by Westley J B Odger

When I hear the song
That travels on the breeze
It's not at all easy when you're not at ease
But fear not my fair darling
For things are not always as they seem
But if you allow me to be your guide
Then we will travel the wayward sky
And you will not be scared
or sometimes ask why?
Because together we will fly
And we both shall hear that music
that travels forever on the sky
The angels singing in the sky
Always and forever
to walk with us in spirit
And live on in our hearts
Forever young
Forever happy.

Westley's story

A picture of Westley when he was at senior schoolWestley was 27 years old when he was brutally stabbed at a cashpoint in Colchester and died moments after the blade ruptured an artery in his neck. Westley had his whole life ahead of him but because of a single, thoughtless act by someone carrying a knife his life was taken away. Many people were around when the attack happened, including an experienced first-aider, but his life could not be saved.

Together we can cut knife crime

FactEssex is a safe county and doesn't have the knife crime problem seen in other areas of the UK.

What do you think about knife crime? We've all seen the news and heard the stories but we want to know your views about knife crime. Please be honest - this will help us understand more about knife crime in Essex.dead person with feet sticking out of a white sheet.  Label tied to toe says 'stabbed'

Essex Police (link to Essex Police website)Essex County CouncilEssex Crimestoppers - 0800 555 111 Call annonymously with information about crimeEssex Criminal Justice Board - Criminal Justice System working together for the public
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