A FRIEND of Lance Gregory, who was stabbed to death in Chelmsley Wood last year, is launching a new campaign to tackle knife crime.
Natacha McArdle will be marking the first anniversary of Lance’s death, which took place on Remembrance Day last year, with the Unity in the Community workshop.
The 26-year-old had been stabbed by his friend Carlton Pollock after a “brief altercation” and was found in the early hour of November 11 at Craig Croft with one stab wound to the chest. He later died in hospital.
Pollock was subsequently found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for ten years.
Mum-of-four Natacha, from Lyecroft Avenue in Chelmsley Wood, said she had seen an increase in the numbers of people carrying knives and hoped the campaign would protect children in the future.
“I grew up with Lance. Growing up in Chelmsley Wood, no one I knew carried a weapon.
“Knife crime, to us, happened in Birmingham areas that we might be a bit intimidated of like Lozells or Aston.
“Now it’s not just fisticuffs or a little fight in the park that was arranged beforehand.
“When you’re carrying a knife, things can get out of hand.
“Two seconds of madness can have lifelong effects, for the victim and the person with the knife.
“I know a lot of Lance’s friends and they are still affected everyday.
“Walking past Craig Croft everyday, and seeing the flowers people put there, is a constant reminder of what happened.”
The knife crime awareness workshop will be held between 1.30pm-2.30pm on Saturday, November 16 at Craig Croft Church.
Lance’s mum Crystal and his cousin will attend and give a talk about the tragic after-effects of someone being stabbed. Police officers, the youth offending team and self-defence instructors will also be there to educate people about knives and “break the mentality of carrying a weapon as a form of self-defence.”
Natacha, aged 29, said: “We’re trying to make the area safer for children. If it’s a success we hope to hold a monthly workshop in different areas around the Midlands.
“The thing with knife crime, is that it has a lot of momentum after a stabbing has happened. But a couple of weeks after, when the media attention has died down, it all gets brushed underneath the carpet.
“As a mother, it’s definitely a major concern. I hear people say they want to move away to bring their children up in a safer environment.
“But this is a nationwide problem. Why not stay and try and combat it?”