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MBE honour for anti-gun campaigner Marcia Shakespeare

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A leading anti-gun campaigner whose daughter was killed in a drive-by shooting described how she wept on finding out she was to be honoured for her work tackling gang violence.

Marcia Shakespeare, who discovered on Friday she was to get an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List, said there was still more to be done to tackle the scourge of gun and knife crime by steering children onto the right path and realising their potential.

Ms Shakespeare still has nightmares of seeing her 17-year-old daughter, Letisha, lying dead in hospital - nearly 14 years after the girl was gunned down in a Birmingham shooting.

When she opened the letter with news of the MBE, her thoughts turned to her teenage girl whose life was cut short and she "couldn't stop crying".

Ms Shakespeare said:

I know that if Letisha wasn't murdered I wouldn't have taken the path I have taken.

Everything I have done and will continuously do is for the kids.

I don't do it for medals, my rewards is when I can see a child has turned their life around.

– Marcia Shakespeare

Letisha Shakespeare had been at a party with friends when she and her cousin 18-year-old Charlene Ellis, were killed by a hail of machine gun bullets in the early hours of January 2, 2003.

Charlene's twin sister, Sophie, and her cousin, Cheryl Shaw, were also hit but survived.

All four were innocent victims caught in the cross-fire of a Birmingham gang feud between the Burger Bar Boys and the rival Johnson Crew.

Four men were later jailed in connection with the killings.

Credit: PA

Since the shooting, she has campaigned for an end to gun and gang violence, visiting schools in the West Midlands and speaking to more than 100,000 youngsters as a volunteer.

However, she described her work through charity Precious Lives as "a drop in the ocean" in what was a continuing problem of gun and knife crime.

Birmingham has seen a recent spike in gun-related violence, with West Midlands Police chief constable David Thompson saying earlier this year shootings were happening with "concerning regularity".

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