09 July 2023
The Knife Angel visits
Lichfield to highlight knife
violence and killings
The Knife Angel – the 27 ft tall sculpture consisting of 100,000 knives confiscated by police across the country – is in Lichfield throughout July.
I visited this contemporary and stunning piece of contemporary artwork in the centre of Lichfield at the end of last week. It stands on open space beside District Council House on Frog Lane, where it is the focus of a month-long campaign in Lichfield to raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime.
The ‘Save A Life, Surrender Your Knife’ campaign was born in 2014 when Clive Knowles of the British Ironwork Centre in Shropshire was struck by the large amount of violent crimes being reported in the media.
The Knife Angel sculpture was the brainchild of Clive Knowles and was brought to life by the sculptor Alfie Bradley in 2018. It was made in the British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry and is on a tour of towns and cities throughout Britain to raise awareness of knife crime, the negative effects of violent behaviour, and the need for social change.
The Knife Angel is a poignant memorial and has the potential for being a catalyst in turning the tide against violent and aggressive behaviour. But it is also as a beautiful memorial to remember the lives of people lost through knife violence.
The Knife Angel arrived in Lichfield last weekend (Saturday 1 July) and the visit to Lichfield has been funded by Staffordshire’s Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue. As part of the programme, Knife Bins - where blades can be deposited – are sited at four locations: Tesco Extra and Morrisons in Lichfield, Morrisons in Burntwood and Burntwood Leisure Centre.
School parties are visiting the sculpture in Lichfield throughout July. There are daily services on site to welcome people, and there is a full programme of outreach days, with multiple services representatives at the Knife Angel site in Frog Lane (4 July, 12 July, 19 July and 29 July).
There is fun club hub, where children can come along and enjoy a day of crafts and fun activities on 24 July. Other parts of the programme include and a CPR awareness day with West Midlands Ambulance Service (25 July), the Fire Service (26 July), the Air Ambulance team (27-28 July) and an outreach day with multiple service (29 July).
At another level, the visit of the Knife Angel to Lichfield is also appropriate because, through the work of the sculptor Peter Walker some years ago, Lichfield was promoted as the ‘City of Sculpture’, with a sculpture trail throughout the city.
Yvonne James, Lichfield District Council’s Principal Community Safety Officer, said: ‘Lichfield District is one of the safest places to live in Staffordshire in terms of incidents of knife crime and violence. However, we cannot ignore the fact that they are increasing nationally with the Office for National Statistics stating that in 2021/22 the neighbouring West Midlands Police Force recorded the highest rate of 152 offences involving a knife per 100,000 of population.’
‘We need to do everything we can to alert people to the dangers,’ she added.
Councillor Richard Cox of Lichfield District Council said: ‘The Knife Angel is visually extremely striking and thought-provoking. Our aim is to prevent people from carrying knives through education, by explaining how lives can be destroyed and I hope many residents from across Lichfield District, neighbouring boroughs and districts throughout the Midlands will come and see it and help raise awareness.’
The Knife Angel is on site on Frog Lane in Lichfield until Sunday 30 July, when a ‘Civic Departure Event’ includes speakers, dancers, rappers and a procession through the city.
More information about the Knife Angel is available HERE
Share your story on social media by using these hashtags: #britishironworkcentre #knifeangel #savealifesurrenderyourknife