The families of two murdered teenagers will walk out onto the pitch before Saturday’s Tyne-Wear derby in a plea to end the scourge of knife crime.

Football fans are being asked to take a moment to reflect by the families of victims Connor Brown and Samantha Madgin who will take their anti-knife campaign to the turf of the Stadium of Light.

They will deliver the message in front of more than 48,000 fans in a sold out stadium about half an hour before kick-off.

It comes as Newcastle and Sunderland’s charity foundations joined forces to promote ending knife violence. Both foundations run projects to help youngsters who may fall into crime.

Carly Barrett's sister Samantha Madgin was stabbed to death in Wallsend, North Tyneside in 2007 aged 18. On what would have been her 30th birthday her family set up ‘Samantha’s Legacy’ in her name.

Carly told The Northern Echo: “This is about uniting the region, Sunderland and Newcastle, and for us, Samantha’s Legacy and the Connor Brown Trust, we’ve been united through grief but we are now united through preventing knife crime. We can’t do it alone, we need everyone to come together and unite together.

The Northern Echo: Carly Barrett of Samantha's Legacy.Carly Barrett of Samantha's Legacy. (Image: STUART BOULTON)

“I would love for the supporters to take a moment and realise what we are doing. I know it’s such a big game, but take a moment and look at it as an honour to all victims of knife crime and all these young people who have lost their lives."

Tanya Brown, whose Sunderland-fan son Connor was stabbed to death in the city in 2019, added: “Football has such a massive influence over everybody in the North East, especially young people. The match tomorrow and rivalry has a big influence, so that’s why we’re using this stadium and this game to highlight the campaign to such a big audience.”

The Northern Echo: Connor Brown.Connor Brown. (Image: Contributor)

“Connor was red and white through and through. He was a season ticket holder from a young age, he went to Wembley back in 2014, he loved football, being here and the away games. He would be absolutely buzzing about the game tomorrow.

“He’d be jealous we’re walking out onto the pitch, but we’re here because of him, we are here for him and we do it for him. He’d be so proud of us.

“Supporters, take that moment to reflect on knife crime and how devastating it is. Open the conversations, if you’ve got children, work with young people, let everybody know that there’s somewhere out there that will offer help, support or guidance.

The Northern Echo: Simon and Tanya Brown.Simon and Tanya Brown. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

Dad Simon added: “Don’t be that family that thinks it will never happen to them. We’re a prime example of that family. We never thought it would happen to us, never in a million years, and one night changed our lives and remapped our future.”

Hard-hitting messages will show on ad boards around the pitch during the tie at the Stadium of Light.

Graphics of emotional undelivered text messages aim to show the heart-breaking reality of knife crime along with the words: “Knife crime cuts deep.

The families have joined the ‘Knives Impact Everyone’ campaign, launched by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness.

The Northern Echo: Kim McGuinness speaks to reporters at the Stadium of Light.Kim McGuinness speaks to reporters at the Stadium of Light. (Image: STUART BOULTON)

Ms McGuinness said: “Whilst the Wear-Tyne derby is one of the biggest rivalries in British football, what we’re saying is we can all unite behind this really crucial message of knives impact everyone.

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“This is about bringing together those massive brands of our footballs clubs, their foundations, the families of victims and the fan groups to say that regardless of the huge rivalry we can all join up to be part of the solution to this problem.

“We know that the strength of our footballs clubs is really valuable in engaging young people, football is like a religion in this region, we’re really really proud of it. What that means is that we’ve got this vehicle by which we can run fantastic programmes around crime prevention and creation of opportunities for young people and that’s invaluable for us.”

The Northern Echo is also campaigning to end knife violence through our Knife Crime Taskforce.

The Taskforce, also supported by PCC Kim McGuinness and both families, aims to address the root causes of children carrying knives with preventative measures and effective intervention strategies to make North East communities a safer place to grow up.

It comes after a shocking spate of deaths of teenagers across the region in senseless stabbings.