Stevenage football match aims to help tackle prevalent knife crime issue

People from all walks of life came together for a football match at The Valley School in Stevenage t

People from all walks of life came together for a football match at The Valley School in Stevenage to raise awareness of knife crime. Picture courtesy of Dan Gaze. - Credit: Archant

A charity football match aimed at raising awareness of knife crime was played on Sunday, raising much-needed funds for a charity dedicated to tackling the prevalent issue.

The match at Valley Sports Football Academy in Stevenage was organised by PE teacher Dan Gaze, who works with the Josh Hanson Trust – a charity set up in memory of a 21-year-old man who was fatally stabbed in the neck in an unprovoked knife attack in a London nightclub in 2015.

The event raised £192.50 for the trust, which aims to help prevent knife crime and offer support to the families and friends of victims.

People from different walks of life – teachers, care workers, dads, police officers and builders – came together for the match.

Dan said: “We wanted to raise money to educate young people that carrying a knife is not a fashion statement.

“Unfortunately knife crime has become a way of life and it’s scary. What we are lacking is education.”

Josh’s mum, Tracey, said: “People like Dan who raise money for our charity are the people who make the difference and we are so grateful to them.”

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Knife crime is all too apparent in Stevenage. A 14-year-old boy was stabbed in Martins Way in broad daylight on July 17, an 18-year-old man was stabbed in the leg at The Oval shops in Vardon Road at lunchtime on July 7, and a woman was stabbed in the back in Hydean Way on Sunday.

Tracey, 53, said: “There should be a custodial sentence for those caught carrying a knife because there needs to be a stronger deterrent.

“The increase in knife crime is down to a number of things, including boredom, drugs, mental health issues, and young people spending too much time playing computer games.

“It’s about getting the youth outside and active, and away from their computers and mobile phones.

“There is a lack of facilities for youths, and society has fundamentally let out children down.

“We need to pull together as a community, break down barriers and find positive solutions.

“The increase in knife crime could be double what it is if it wasn’t for people at grassroots level like Dan.”

If you are interested in playing in a football match in aid of the Josh Hanson Trust, call Dan on 07787 446670.