Family of murdered schoolboy Olly Stephens unveil knife sculpture in Reading

  • ITV News Meridian's Mel Bloor was at the unveiling in Reading

The parents of murdered schoolboy Olly Stephens have stepped up their campaign to rid Reading's streets of knives.

A sculpture inspired by Stuart and Amanda Stephens, and made with blades collected by police, has been unveiled at the Oracle Shopping Centre.

It is hoped the artwork will raise awareness of the impact knife crime has on communities and encourage young people to make positive choices.

Stuart Stephens, Olly's father, said: "It's to get people talking because silence is a killer if you don't talk.

"It cost Olly his life because he wouldn't talk to us and what we're trying to educate people on is choice.

"It's not about pointing the finger, it's about getting everybody to talk together and make the right choice."

The parents of schoolboy Olly Stephens, who died in knife attack, watched the unveiling.

Designed by a local artist with the help of young people from across Reading, the sculpture consists of stainless steel diamonds and is topped with a finial made from melted-down knives collected during a police amnesty.

Local artist Stuart Melrose said: "Coming from this I hope that people do learn, that people will come here, that people will think about the devastation that it causes not just for the person that's been stabbed but for their friends and family."

The sculpture was funded by grants and donations and commissioned by a partnership including The Oracle, Reading Borough Council and the police.

Supt Steve Raffield, Commander of Reading Local Policing Area, said: "It sounds out a really good message that as a partnership we're really committed to tackling knife crime.

"There's no level of acceptable knife crime at all and this is a real opportunity for young people and communities to get together and work on knife crime collectively."

The unveiling of the sculpture will be followed by a month of action in July aimed at reaching young people in a positive way and challenging the myths and misconceptions around knife crime.

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