Over the last few months we have continued to deliver assemblies and workshops in schools, refined our lesson plans and presentations that go with the videos in our education resources and have made some other big changes – but more of that later when our new website launches!
Here are some of our highlights
HMP Long Lartin
Billy’s Wish recently made a visit to HM Prison Long Lartin.
We accepted an invitation from the prison staff to talk to the men about what we do as a charity and for members of Billy’s family to share the impact of Billy’s death with their personal statements.
HMP Long Lartin is a Category A, high security, men’s prison in Worcestershire. As you might imagine even being a room with these people was tough, let alone speaking in front of them. It required enormous strength from Sally, Devon and Jade – Billy’s aunt and cousins – and this was recognised by the men themselves who praised and thanked them for coming in.
In between the morning and afternoon presentations, we spoke with the prisoner governor and had a tour of the prison – what an insight to what life is truly like behind bars.
The men were totally engaged in what we were saying and overwhelmingly urged us to carry on with our work in educating children and young people. After we finished, a large group gathered round us – they were very animated, reiterating their encouragement to us to carry on and wanted to help us if they could. We have already been able to share some of what they said in schools.
This was an emotional day. We have all taken away a lot to think about from this visit, and we know opinions and preconceptions were challenged and changed on both sides. We will add more details over time, but it was summed up very well in this report, submitted to the prison governors, by the prison officer who had facilitated the day. Please read it!
Crucial Crew is programme of safety workshops for Year 6 Children. Through experiential education in realistic scenarios they aim to:
- Increase awareness of safety and develop key life skills
- Encourage visitors to develop personal confidence and to think for themselves
- Promote teamwork and shared values
- Encourage safer, healthier and more active lifestyles
This half term, we spent two weeks in Stevenage (see below) and one week in Hemel Hempstead.
Each talk lasts 10 minutes but because the group size is small, the impact is big.
George Street School
In May we were contacted by the Year 6 teacher at George Street Primary School. The children had been to Crucial Crew in September 2018, they were struck by Billy’s story and our anti-knife crime message.
Unknown to us, they had been fundraising all year with a number of exciting and fun projects and wanted to give us a donation of £500. We are blown away by this – I was quite overwhelmed when I went in to deliver a longer workshop and receive the cheque. Obviously we need money to keep going, but having spent so much time and energy supporting our cause means this cohort will not forget Billy – which in turn will help to keep them safe by making the good choices we talk about.
Billy’s Wish would like to wish Year 6 leavers at George Street Primary School a wonderful time in your new schools – you have a great future ahead of you!
Hemel Hempstead School Fete
In July we went to HHS fete where we spoke to lots of children, adults and families about what we do, and many people signed our anti-weapons pledge.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Form 8VGR at Parmiters School!
The class wanted to raise money for a local charity and Adam Mclennan was asked to choose a Charity and nominated Billy’s Wish, a cause close to his heart, with knife crime such a big issue for his age group the others all agreed this was a great idea. As well as organising a cake sale, Adam worked with his class to share Billy’s story and raise awareness in his school of what Billy’s Wish does to educate young people about the danger of knife crime and how to stay safe.
Every time an event like this is organised by young people themselves it lifts us here at Billy’s Wish. Every conversation prompted by Billy’s story keeps the issue at the front of people’s minds and hopefully makes a difference to the choices they make.
The cake sale raised £160! Adam, is pictured below presenting the cheque to Devon – our new Trustee and Billy’s cousin – alongside friends from his form, Marcus and Conrad.
Thank you so much!
Thank You – to the Kenny Family
We would like to express huge thanks to the Kenny family who lost their lovely Dad Tom earlier this year. The family asked for donations to Billys Wish on their Dad’s passing and raised a staggering £660 for us. We have known the family a lifetime. From all of us at Billys Wish, we can’t thank you enough and once again our deepest condolences, Tom was such a lovely man
Art inspired by Billy’s Story
We, at Billy’s Wish, have been blown away by this artwork and the profound words that the artist wrote to accompany it. It was sent to us by an A level photography student, and we are deeply touched.
“I chose to do this piece of work for my A level photography course because I feel that knife crime is something that everyone needs to talk about. I hoped that the piece would provoke emotion and get people discussing the crime.
The shadow has no identity so could be anyone and knife crime affects so many people.
I started with a cut out of a profile and built the rubbish /newspapers outwards to create a 3D image that would create the shadow. The reason behind using newspapers was that people read the tabloids and discard them – disassociating themselves from the story. Sadly a number of people can’t put away the newspaper, they live with the tragedy.
I am sorry for your loss.”
In March we did our first sessions with Crucial Crew – a safety scheme for year 6 children, to prepare them for the transition to secondary school. Scenarios include safety on roads, railways, open water, electricity and a lot more.
Children visit each scenario in groups of 6-8 for a quick but intense 10 minute interactive presentation. All the children were sent home with a safety ‘goodie-bag’ which included a Billy’s Wish branded projector torch pen and a safety promise card (a year 6 appropriate version of our anti-weapons pledge). Along with school visits and a workshop at Watford Football Academy, we spoke to over 1000 children from around 25 in a two week period in the middle of March!
Secondary School Visits
A lot of time is spent preparing for school visits: talking to teachers, making sure we deliver the right content for the schools’ needs. In the summer term, as well as schools who are delivering our lessons, we addressed over 500 secondary school children. This included two hour workshops with year 7 and year 8 pupils at Longdean, assemblies in Kings Langley School and Ashlyns School and meeting with year 8 pupils at Adeyfield school as part of their active citizenship project.
Our assembly at Ashlyns was prompted by Berkhamstead Youth Town Council who wanted to support the young people of their town in the wake of recent knife crime. The focus was on peer pressure and how to stay safe. We were well aware that this was a sensitive time for the school and were relieved when feedback from the teachers was that we had pitched the message at the right level for this group of children at this point in time.
The assembly at Kings Langley was, in contrast, incredibly hard hitting. We had a guest speaker: leading trauma surgeon, Martin Griffiths. His talk was a no holds barred session, no one present can have been left in any doubt about the devastating effects of carrying and using knives. Some of the pupils and staff were visibly affected, but the feedback on social media was very positive. Parents reported that their children had come home and they had been able to talk frankly about what they had heard and seen.
WOW – the 6th annual Billy’s Wish golf event and Paul Devine Spirit Award in Dallas will take place on September 29, 2018. This event is organised each year by John Eggleton, the Charity’s Patron & good family friend.
Last year $7,059.00 was raised, a record amount!… Not only is this event the biggest fund raiser for Billy’s Wish, but over the last 5 years has raised a staggering $23,990.00 (16,844.00 GBP).
These generous donations have helped us continually improve our Education Program, to ensure it is current & effective. Also, most importantly, to reach as many young people as possible to help keep them safe by teaching them the dangers of knife crime and carrying a knife.
Last year, 72 golfers, 18 hole sponsors & several volunteers took part, ex patriots from ENGLAND, IRELAND & AUSTRALIA, along with their big-hearted AMERICAN friends.
The proud winner of the first Paul Devine “Spirit” award was Ronnie O’Brien for his selfless contribution, by giving up his time and showing determination and enthusiasm to help make the event extra special for everyone to enjoy for the past five years.
The winning team for the second year running was Trey Bayne’s foursome and they received the first Paul Devine winners trophy.
Billy’s Wish visited one of our local junior schools yesterday to talk to year 6 children. They watched the Zone 1 film and responded to the issues in discussions throughout the afternoon. Their questions and comments showed they were taking a serious interest in the session and showed great maturity.
As adults, we must remember how hard it is for children and teenagers to stand up to peer pressure – keep the lines of communication open with your children so when there is a problem it’s easier for them to tell you, whether the problem is big or small.
The children today all know the ‘right thing’, and clearly want to do the right thing – let’s all help them stay that way.
Friday 28th October 2016, 7.00pm – Holiday Inn, Stevenage
Boxing for Billy was a fantastic event held at the Holiday Inn, Stevenage, on Friday 28th October and featured 12 bouts, including 4 iWCB Championship title fights. Special guests for the evening included:
- Kevin Mitchell, former British and Commonwealth Super Featherweight Champion and WBC Lightweight Champion: head judge
- Ashley Sexton, current English Flyweight title holder: guest judge.
- Irene Choudhury, Boxing Ringside Interviewer: Live pre-fight boxer interviews at press conference.
Our grateful thanks to Dave and the team who are helping to raise awareness about the work of our charity.
Join Ringside Interviewer Irene Choudhury as she talks to the boxers during the weigh in and press conference before the big night! More details about the press conference here.
Billy’s Wish Learning Experience Launch
Wednesday 19th October 2016, 4.30pm – Astley Cooper School, Hemel Hempstead
CALLING ALL TEACHERS AND YOUTH WORKERS…
We launched our new 6 week PSHE Learning Experience on 19th October, which is suitable for children aged 10 up to young adults.
As a result of this and a subsequent meeting with Dacorum Primary Heads 20 local primary schools have now subscribed to our programme. This is a fantastic start – if you are a teacher or youth worker and haven’t yet seen our programme please contact Jan on 07711-066696.
The Golf Club at Twin Creeks Dr, Allen, Texas 75013
Brothers John and Mark Eggleton from Apsley emigrated to America many years ago, but remained good friends with Billy’s Dad, Paul Dove. When they heard in 2013 that the charity had been set up to educate young people about the dangers of knife crime they decided to hold a golf event in Texas to raise funds for their friends back home. The day was a huge success and the brothers decided to make it an annual event. Participants and sponsors include ex pats and Americans, business associates and friends of the Eggleton brothers.
On 24th September, the 4th Billy’s Wish Dallas Golf Scramble took place on a scorching day, with 64 golfers taking part. The event was opened by a bagpiper playing Amazing Grace in honour of Billy.
Each year the fundraiser is held on the weekend closest to Paul’s birthday and for the last two years Paul and his fiancée Tanya Whitney have travelled to Dallas to attend the event. This year there was a further twist – John had secretly planned for some friends from Hemel Hempstead to travel to Dallas to surprise Paul!
Speaking after the event Paul said “We are overwhelmed at the tremendous support Billy’s Wish has from our friends in the USA. Thanks to John for organising a superb event, Twin Creeks Golf Club, and all the people involved in this amazing day. The money will go towards building our Education Programme so that we can get our new Anti Knife Crime Learning Experience right across the UK and help to protect young people from the dangers of knife crime.”
At the time of going to press the total raised so far in 2016 is in excess of $5000, and the amount is still rising.