The famous Knife Angel sculpture, which has been touring the country to promote the nationwide campaign against knife crime, will visit Chester next month.
Between 1-28 November, residents and visitors to Chester will see the eye-catching, 8.2m high and 3.5 tonnes sculpture standing outside Chester Cathedral, Town Hall Square.
The art work is made from 100,000 blunted knives, machetes, swords and other bladed instruments collected in a weapons amnesty from all 43 UK police forces. Commissioned by the British Ironwork Centre, its artist, Alfie Bradley expertly welded the knives together to create a sculpture that is both evocative and thought-provoking.
The Knife Angel’s arrival in the city will be marked by a special welcome event on Friday 1 November in the Nave of Chester Cathedral. There will be speeches, a blessing and a one minute silence to remember those affected by knife crime throughout the country.
Visitors to the sculpture throughout November will be encouraged to call into the Cathedral’s Children’s Chapel, which will be renamed the ‘Angel Chapel’ in honour of the artwork. The Angel Chapel will be a quiet place for visitors to reflect upon national knife crime, offering information leaflets, a video highlighting the dangers of carrying knives and the chance for people to share their thoughts in a prayer box.
Canon Missioner and Vice Dean, Canon Jane Brooke says: “The cathedral feels it has an important role to play in raising awareness of knife crime and spreading the message that violence is never the answer. We want to prevent such crime in our city and feel that it is vital to demonstrate the dangers of people carrying knives.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, David Keane, added: “I’m pleased to welcome this iconic statue to Cheshire as it makes its way across the country raising awareness of the devastating effects of knife crime. The Knife Angel is a symbol of both loss and hope that sends an important message to our communities.
“Cheshire has a lower rate of knife crime than most other counties in England but our aim is for weapon-free streets throughout the county.
“We will use this opportunity of having the Knife Angel in Chester to widen the conversation with our schools and young people about the dangers of carrying a knife in a bid to reduce the number of knife-related incidents in Cheshire.”
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “We are lucky to not have a significant knife crime problem in our borough compared to other areas of the country. However, we do share the desire to solve this growing nationwide knife crime crisis.
“By welcoming the Knife Angel to our borough, we want to show our support to other areas of the country who experience challenges associated with knife crime.
“We hope that its presence outside the cathedral and the planned school visits by the police will show our solidarity with the victims of knife crime and their families. We also hope it will raise awareness of the impact of knife crime in communities.
“Through listening to local young people we are aware of their fears and perceptions of knife crime here in our borough. Our targeted youth service will be providing drop in sessions at the cathedral and as part of our normal centre based delivery and detached youth work in Chester and across the borough for the duration of the knife angel project.”
For information about the Youth Service visit https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/residents/young-people/youth-service/youth-service.aspx