THE BEREAVED older sister of murdered Daniel Kennell has spoken about how her family decided to join national anti-knife crime rallies this Saturday by organising a ‘Coventry Says No’ event.
More than 40 ‘Your City Says No’ anti-knife crime rallies are taking place on the same day, at the same time, across UK cities and towns, including in Birmingham and London boroughs.
After only hearing about the initiative last week, the Kennell family quickly stepped up and organised ‘Coventry Says No’ in Broadgate, between 2pm and 3pm, Saturday October 12, as we reported on Monday.
In the past eight years, knife crime in England and Wales has drastically increased, with the year ending in March last year the deadliest on record.
Coventry is a rising hotspot nationally with 9.7 incidents of violent knife crimes per 10,000 residents, according to a new BBC survey.
Only Birmingham and Wolverhampton have worse figures in the wider West Midlands region. Westminster in London has the highest UK rate with 35.5 violent knife crimes per 10,000 residents.
Talented footballer Daniel Kennell, 27, died after he was stabbed once in the heart by his ‘friend’ Ryan Preston, also 27, on July 8 last year. Preston was sentenced to 22 years in prison at Warwick Crown Court in January.
Following his death the family established The Daniel Kennell Foundation, working to help prevent knife crime and support other families affected within the Coventry area.
Michelle, aged 33, from Bulkington, the oldest of Daniel’s four sisters and a mum-of-four, explained the idea for the rally initially came from two women in Croydon, Nichole Young and teacher Yemi Hughes, whose 19-year-old son Andre Aderemi was stabbed 20 times in 2016.
She told the Coventry Observer: “There will be rallies in 43 cities, towns and across London. We only became aware of it last week and have had to act quite quickly.
“The support has been amazing. The city council and the police are in full support.
“The Positive Youth Foundation and youth organisation, FRIDAYS, have said they would like to be part of it too.
“We are looking to see if any sports organisations would like to join us to promote their services. It’s so important to create opportunities for our youth, getting kids and teenagers to do something they enjoy whether it is football, boxing, music, singing or dancing.
“We don’t want today’s young people to grow up on the streets. I don’t want that in the future for my kids and the next generation.
“The Foundation is led by my mum and my sisters but there are also a team of volunteers, all friends, who are more like family.
“Without them we couldn’t have put this together. They have been amazing!
“We are a very private family but we need to do this. I don’t want anyone else to feel like this.
“Daniel was loved by so many. He touched so many people’s lives. He loved life and we need to keep his spirit alive. He was always someone who would give anyone his last penny.
“We need to stand together in order to make a change. We’ve got to work together.
“It’s about coming together as a city and bringing people together, not blaming.
“We are here for people affected or worried by knife crime to reach out to. You are not alone.”
The mother-of-four young children said her mum, Amanda Bates, had reached out to other families affected by knife crime in the city asking them to join the event, “even just for five minutes to say ‘hello’. An itinerary for Saturday’s gathering will be confirmed later this week but is expected to include speakers, youth organisations and live music.