A huge Knife Angel sculpture, made of 100,000 confiscated knives, has arrived in Coventry.
The 27-foot high Knife Angel, created by artist Alfie Bradley as employed and commissioned by the British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire, was installed yesterday at the front of Coventry Cathedral.
Coventry City Councillor Ed Ruane, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, has been instrumental in bringing it to the city. The scheme locally is being supported by the Coventry City of Culture Trust, Coventry Cathedral, Coventry City Council, Coventry Police and the European City of Sport 2019 initiative.
Businesses in the city helped to fund the transportation and installation of the Knife Angel.
He said: “I think it looks fantastic. Looking around there are already dozens of people viewing the sculpture, and this will continue for the six weeks it is here in Coventry. Lots of agencies and private businesses have given their time and resources to bring it here. It just goes to show what can happen when a city comes together.”
Rashid Bhayat, of the Positive Youth Foundation – which works with young people across the city, said: “Now it’s in place we’re looking forward to hearing the responses from young people, families and the community once they have seen this impressive sculpture. We need to listen to what they tell us, and act on their feedback to find a way forward.”
Mandy Bates, whose son Daniel Kennell was fatally stabbed, said: “It’s beautiful but it’s also very emotional for me to see it here. Many of the knives in this sculpture were used in crimes, and have even take somebody’s life. For me, The Angel is asking, why are you doing this, and is the violence committed worth it?”
Mandy with her daughters are setting up the Daniel Kennell Foundation. She said they hope in creating the Foundation to make sure that his life was not taken in vain and that families who have lost their loved have a platform for their story to also be heard.
She said hat among the aims of the Foundation would be to work with organisations in the city to provide facilities for knives to be safely disposed to help prevent knife crime and offer support to the families affected by it within the Coventry area.
Alfie Bradley, who was commissioned by the British Ironwork Centre to create the sculpture, said he thought an Angel would be the perfect depiction of hope.
He added: “Lots of other cities want to host the Angel, I’m really happy for it to be here. It’s in a beautiful place in the shadows of the old and new Cathedrals. You can already see lots of people of all age groups coming to see it.
“Then they realise all of these knives were taken off our streets and they understand that something must be done about it.”
The Knife Angel will be in Coventry until Tuesday 23 April as a physical reminder of the effects of violence and aggression. The structure was previously in Liverpool and Hull.
Both the City of Culture Trust and Cathedral will work with partners across the city to deliver a programme of activity around the Knife Angel to ensure it has the most meaningful and lasting impact.
It took four years to build the Knife Angel after permission was granted by the Home Office to British Ironwork Centre to collect the weapons at knife banks from police force areas across the country.
It was created in response to the growing issue of knife crime in cities across the UK.
Coventry Police Superintendent Phil Healy, said: “It looks amazing. Knife crime, has been made a West Midlands Police force priority. But we need the support of all communities, in the coming weeks there will be more opportunities for partner agencies and voluntary groups to identify longer term solution to knife crime.”
The Knife Angel’s time in Coventry has been supported by West Midlands Police, Coventry Cathedral, Coventry City of Culture Trust, Coventry City Council, Positive Youth Foundation, Medwell Hyde, Deeley Group, Norman Hay, WM Housing Group, Wasps, Absolute Services Group, National Express, Buckingham Group Contracting, Cadent Gas, The Coventry and Saltem Ltd.