Beds, Herts & Bucks

Billy's Wish: Hertfordshire schools knife campaign launched

Billy Dove
Billy Dove died after he was stabbed during a night out with friends

The parents of a 21-year-old man who was fatally stabbed in Hertfordshire have launched a campaign to teach young people the "tragedy" of knife crime.

Billy Dove died after he was attacked in Hemel Hempstead in 2011.

The "ambitious" programme by the Billy's Wish charity will be introduced to schools in Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring from September.

Paul Dove, Billy's father, said: "After losing the most precious thing in my life we will never stop campaigning."

Darren McGrath, 17, of Essex Mead, Hemel Hempstead, was jailed for 14 years at St Albans Crown Court for his murder.

At the time McGrath was on a supervision order for stabbing a schoolboy and drug offences.

Mr Dove said: "We've just got to try and get into these kids not to carry knives.

"There's going to be a few that don't want to listen, but hopefully the others will get them on board because it's a serious thing to carry a knife as it does kill."

'Terrible tragedy'

The Billy's Wish education programme will be delivered in primary and secondary schools.

Jan Maddern, a trustee at Billy's Wish, said: "We're aiming the campaign at years six, seven and eight which may seem very young - but the average age that a child starts to carry a knife is 14 and we need to get in before that."

Dacorum Borough Council and Hertfordshire Police are among those supporting the campaign, along with George Kinsella, the father of murdered 16-year-old Ben Kinsella.

He said: "I think this will make a huge difference to knife crime and making young children and young adults aware of the dangers.

"You never comes to terms with it [the loss], you carry it for the rest of your life.

"It's a terrible tragedy and the more people know how much it affects everybody, family and friends, maybe they'll think again about carrying knives and the dangers of it."

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