Dear Prime Minister,

We are the mothers of murdered sons and would like to meet to help you understand the reality of knife crime on our streets and in our schools so lives can be saved.

Our precious boys were killed in the prime of their youth when they should have decades of life ahead of them.

We want you to look in our eyes and hear our voices so you know the heartache and devastation knife crime creates.

Children are arming themselves with combat knives and using them in communities across the region.

These senseless stabbings affect not just heartbroken families of the victim that are left behind. The lives of these young killers and their loved ones are also destroyed.

The devastation has a ripple effect on everyone involved, including the police and paramedics called to the scene, the doctors and nurses who fight so valiantly to save lives, the jury members who hear the details of these attacks and the communities who pick up the pieces afterwards.

Parents are afraid to allow their children play near their homes, in case their beloved sons and daughters happen to find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their lives are too precious but they should feel safe.

They should be safe to play with friends in the area they grow up without fear as generations before them have.

The perpetrators do not just wake up one day and decide to stab someone.

It is a culture they are drawn into with influences ranging from graphic video games to threatening rap lyrics from wannabe gangsters as well as films and television programmes that glorify violence.

This is a cultural cancer of modern society that must be addressed if lives are to be saved.

Funding for youth invention services to steer young people at risk of offending on to the right path are a fraction of what they were a decade ago and it is having a severe detrimental impact on our communities.

The North East has higher pockets of deprivation than other parts of the UK, with unacceptable high levels of child poverty, low wages, poor health and low life expectancy.

It should come as no surprise parts of the region have the highest rates of knife crime in the country as well.

We would like to meet to discuss our campaigns with a view securing increased funding for youth intervention work, positive activities to engage our young people and a hard-hitting education programme in our schools as well as severe punishments and deterrents for carrying a knife.

Our sons were Jack Woodley and Connor Brown.  They were 18 years old.

Remember their names.

As their mothers, we do not want their deaths to be in vain.

We do not want other parents to endure the heartache we live with every single day. Ours is a nightmare from which we can never wake.

Please help us prevent more young people needlessly losing their lives. Our children deserve a future.


Zoey McGill and Tanya Brown

Read next:

If you want to read more great stories, why not subscribe to your Northern Echo for as little as £1.25 a week. Click here.