Birstall widow of murder victim is backing Kirklees knife crime campaign

A Kirklees anti-knife crime campaign supported by a Birstall woman whose husband was murdered is helping to warn young people in the District about the dangers of carrying a knife.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 10:29 am
Updated Friday, 23rd July 2021, 10:30 am

Elaine Wilson’s husband, Robert, was killed on Manchester Road, Linthwaite in January last year.

His killers, then aged 18 and 16 were jailed for life in September last year.

Elaine is now working with the Kirklees District Early Action Team through the PEAK (Positive Engagement Against Knives) project, which supports young people to help make them feel safer, realise their potential and improve community cohesion.

A student listens intently as Elaine speaks about the dangers of knife crime

This is achieved through education, diversionary work, youth empowerment, inspiration and the use of role models and on-going support.

The Team set up the project – which is a partnership with the Huddersfield Town AFC Foundation - in 2019 with POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) funding* and approached Elaine about her supporting its work.

And Elaine has said how the opportunity to talk to young people about the impact of what happened to her husband has made her feel more optimistic about the future.

She wants to turn something negative into a positive, whilst at the same time honouring her husband’s life and recently joined a workshop run by the team at Westborough High School.

Elaine gave an emotional and powerful account of what happened to her husband, with students then invited to ask questions.

They said: “The young people who have been part of this project have been fantastic and their engagement levels have been really impressive.

“We have seen significant improvement in pupils' behaviour and the project enables us to improve relations between Police and young people. We are extremely grateful for Elaine’s support and after everything she has been through this is very brave and shows immense strength.

“The project has been very rewarding for us as officers and seeing students turn things around. They deserve a lot of praise.”

The Kirklees District Early Action Team is also planning ‘Robert Wilson Memorial Award’ for the best student on the project, which is run by PCs Paul Jackson and Richard Booth.

John Keyes (Huddersfield Town AFC Foundation – Youth Engagement), said: “As part of my role with the Foundation we aim to aspire young people to reach their full potential. This partnership project has had a positive influence on students, their choices and future and we are grateful for Elaine’s involvement.”