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Monday, November 27, 2006

Rio Ferdinand backs anti-knife drive


Some positive news - one of England’s top soccer players has made a plea to the nation's young people: Respect Your Life - Not a Knife.

In a bid to stop young people carrying knives, Rio Ferdinand launched a hard-hitting anti-weapons campaign today — warning kids: “Knives are not cool, they kill.”

See full coverage at the BBC and the Sun newspaper.

Rio is desperate to wipe out the scourge of killings by blade-wielding youngsters on Britain’s streets. Rio (28) knows only too well the peril of knives having grown up on a tough inner city estate in Peckham, South London.

He helped establish the Damilola Taylor Trust in 2000 after the ten-year-old schoolboy — whose dad Richard is also involved with the initiative — was fatally stabbed nearby.

Rio said: “Trying to be a gangster isn’t cool. Kids who carry knives and weapons have their lives changed irreversibly.

“Some carry them through fear to protect themselves, but it’s no protection. If you have problems speak to someone you trust. Someone who can help in a positive way.

“The statistics are shocking and show that 28 per cent of children in mainstream schools and 57 per cent of excluded children said they’d carried a knife in the last year.”

As part of the initiative, youngsters will be urged to make an anti-knife pledge. Almost 4,000 schools across the UK will be encouraged to take part in the scheme by putting up pledge walls.

It is hoped displays, made up of poems, thoughts and comments made by the children, will encourage communication and enforce the dangers of carrying knives.

A Damilola Taylor Trust spokesman said: "Statistics show that the vast majority of knife crime injuries are caused when kids carry them to defend themselves and then they are used against them."

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