Match remembers knife crime victims

A MATCH to remember two Bristol boys who lost their lives to knife crime has been held at Mangotsfield United’s Cossham Street ground.

The match was hosted by the Bristol Showmen’s Guild to raise money for the families of Mason Rist, 15, and Max Dixon, 16, who were stabbed to death in Knowle West in January.

It came as a prison chaplain who helps mentor young people urged anyone at risk of getting involved with knife crime to reach out and talk.

The football match, held on February 12 between a Showmen’s Guild team and a select Knowle West side, was attended by Max and Mason’s families.

The two boys’ mothers led the teams onto the pitch for a balloon release before kick-off, with a banner saying: “Only cowards carry knives”.

Organiser Stevie Rawlings said the match was part of a drive to raise up to £8,000 for the families to help pay funeral costs, and had already raised more than £4,000.

He said: “It’s the least the Showmen’s Guild can do, to raise some money and help them.”

A total of 14 people have been arrested in connection with the killing of Mason and Max on January 28. Five have been charged with murder – teenagers aged 14, 15, 16 and 17, and a 44-year-old man.

Another teenager, 16-year-old Darrien Williams, was stabbed to death in Easton on February 14. Two boys aged 15 have been arrested in connection with his murder.

As the number of serious knife crime incidents soars, prison chaplain Larry Harvey is calling on young people thinking of carrying knives, and concerned families, to call him for a “different perspective”.

Larry has worked as a prison chaplain for 20 years – 10 at Bristol Prison and 10 at the former Ashfield Young Offender Institution in Pucklechurch.

He also works for a mentoring service for children and provides animal therapy sessions in Lyde Green.

Larry, of Coalpit Heath, said: “If you don’t carry a knife you can’t use it.

“Taking someone’s life will cost you yours – 25 years, minimum, could be 35 depending on how you behave. There are no winners.

“Mates and girlfriends will disappear, meaning no visits or money being sent in.

“When you’re finally released, if you are, you’ll probably end up in a hostel or a bedsit at the very end of your life, on your own.”

Larry has printed his message on cards and posters and is urging anyone who wants to talk to call him on 07825 321358.

He is also looking for people to help distribute posters and cards to help spread the message.