The BPCA has a long-standing relationship with many community groups in Redbridge and in particular
Wilson Chowdhry, Reverend Jonathan Evans and Dancer Latasha Sinclair
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Anti-knife UK who we helped develop their constitution and taught through the process of how to open a community account. It was with great pleasure that we accepted an invitation to speak at their first ever memorial service for victims of knife crime, at 7pm on Wednesday 3rd December 2014.
The event was a night of great solemnity and a gathering of many families of victims from across the country. Danny O'Brien Leader of Anti-knife UK opened the event with a moving speech, describing an a non fatal attack on his cousin as the starting point for his work. The service was led by Reverend Jonathan Evans of St John's Church in Seven Kings. He said;
“We put on the service because we recognised a need people have when they are grieving to remember loved ones and to do that in a public way too with prayer and reflection in the run up to Christmas.”
Guest speakers Mike Smith from "Words for Weapons" a group that swaps bible verses for knives and now operates over 26 knife amnesty boxes across parts of the UK. Described the work they do which includes a haul of over 26,000 former weapons. They were the UK's first weapons exchange programme.
18 year old singer Camara Fearon a well known singer who has often been noted for her stance against antisocial behaviour and Gun and knife crime, sang a beautiful peace song. Camara won a "Spirit of London" Award after writing a peace song in the wake of the murder of her friend CJ Hendricks near Walthamstow Central Station in 2008.
Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association and East Ilford Betterment Partnership, described, work undertaken with Young offenders that had help them turn their lives around. Wilson spoke of the moving experience of leading a peace march that had participation form over 150 teenagers, after the death of Kashif Mahmood a local Redbridge teenager. This march was the start of a project to install the Redbridge Peace Monument which The BPCA and EIBP achieved in collaboration five years later. This is said to be the first and currently purpose built monument of it's kind in the country. It has now become a place for schools and colleges to congregate to talk on the futility of knife crime.
Wilson Chowdhry, Inspector Bill Braeme (Met Police Awarded for keeping borough safe during London Riots), Sgt David Somerville (Awarded Best Policeman), Mayor Felicity Banks at Redbridge Peace Monument 2011.
Wilson organised by young Catholic Dancer Latasha Sinclair a British National Champion. Latasha's dance re-enacted the tragic murder of teenager Charlotte Polius, who died only metres from where Latasha Currently lives in Barking. The dance performance moved many to tears.
Wilson Chowdhry said;
"This memorial event was remarkable as it brought together people of different faiths, cultures and diversities. The event was a day of reflection and an opportunity for many to rededicate their lives to the improvement of social harmony."
Danny O'brien Leader of Anti-knife UK, said;
"...everyone who came was pleased they came and all my speakers were first class. Camara Jessica Fearon made me cry with her singing and the dancer at the end was amazing too. Thank you if you attended ..."
He added; "like to thank everyone who attend or sent messages of support. A big thank you to all those who took part and especially Jonathan Evens who believed in what I was trying to do and offered me his church for the vigil."
Wilson Chowdhry remembered the many knife victims of Ilford.