Yorkshire woman whose brother was stabbed to death campaigning to rid streets of knife crime

For Yorkshire woman Kayleigh Pepper, June 22, 2015 is the day her life changed forever. At just 25-years-of-age, her brother Richard Pepper's life was cut tragically short when he was stabbed to death outside his home in Hull.

Kayleigh Pepper, pictured second from the left, launched the #NoMoreKnives project to educate young people on the dangers of carrying knives.
Kayleigh Pepper, pictured second from the left, launched the #NoMoreKnives project to educate young people on the dangers of carrying knives.

Using her grief and determination to make sure no family will have to endure what she did, Kayleigh set up the RICH Foundation in her brother's memory.

The charity has helped support children who have lost loved ones and those going through difficult times and out of it the #NoMoreKnives campaign was born.

Kayleigh, 32, said: "We carry Richard with us every day in all that we do.

Richard Pepper, was just 25 when he was stabbed to death outside his home in east Hull on June 22, 2015.

"We honour his memory, his life and everything he loved we cherish even more. We keep each other strong, even though most days we battle the grief to make it through the next day.

"Losing Richard is the hardest, most saddest part of telling someone he once existed, because we are then reminded that he is no longer here.

Whilst we will never recover this, Richard gave us so many memories and filled our lives with love, no one can ever replace.

"The one thing that keeps me going is keeping Richard's memory alive.

Kayleigh Pepper and the #NoMoreKnives team were responsible for bringing the stunning knife angel sculpture to Hull earlier this year.

"Since creating the charity, I have had the most amazing support and have met some amazing people on this journey.

"If we make a difference to one person's life then the campaign will have been worth it."

Working together with Humberside Police and Hull pastor Mo Timbo, the campaign was launched in April 2017 to rid Hull's streets of knives and educate young people on the danger of carrying weapons.

In just over year, thousands of secondary school children witnessed history being made as the #NoMoreKnives tour visited secondary school's across the city with the important message that knives cost lives.

Children, and their teachers, were moved to tears hearing Kayleigh's own tragic story, combined with hard hitting presentations from PC Christian Sewell and PCSO Richard Whelan, and Mo Timbo - who himself was embroiled in knife crime as a teenager and saw his best friend killed.

All this was combined with musical performance from bands across the country, all wanting to help spread a vital message to future generations.

The first phase of the campaign culminated in a huge anti-knife crime concert held at the Bonus Arena in Hull, with bands from across the country performing. It was also backed by Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle.

In November last year, the campaign was given a funding boost by Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter when it was announced it would receive a portion of £336,500.

There was further success in February this year, when after a lot of hard work by the #NoMoreKnives team, the Knife Angel - the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression arrived in Queen's Gardens in Hull.

The city was only the second place to have the 27ft angel, which was created by sculptor Alfie Bradley and made up of 100,000 blades handed in to police stations in a national knife amnesty. It's permanent home is at the British Ironwork Centre in Staffordshire.

Just this month the campaign has launched its second phase which will see the #NoMoreKnives tour visit 55 secondary schools and pupil referral units across the East Riding, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire by the end of January next year.

Kayleigh said: "Our project started in Hull, but with the support of the police and crime commissioner's office it has allowed us to take it across the whole of the Humberside Police force area.

"We have worked incredibly hard to make a difference. I knew the team we have is special, but I never expected to take the campaign so far, but we have and we have done so successfully.

"It has been a privilege to work alongside everybody and I am forever grateful to everyone I work with and for everything they do for me and my family in memory of my beautiful brother."