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One year on: Tabard Gardens community remembers David Idowu

London SE1 website team

A special event was held in Tabard Gardens on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the death of David Idowu, the 14-year-old boy who was fatally stabbed last summer.

Cllr Mackie Sheik, Grace Idowu and Tim Idowu
Cllr Mackie Sheik, Grace Idowu and Tim Idowu
Revd Kes Grant and Fr Ray Andrews
Revd Kes Grant and Fr Ray Andrews led prayers at the memorial event

The local teenager had just walked a few yards from his home to play in Tabard Gardens when he was stabbed on 17 June 2008. He died in hospital on 7 July 2008. In January Elijah Dayoni, 16, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.

At Saturday's gathering in Tabard Gardens David's mother Grace Idowu spoke movingly about her determination to bring people together to eradicate knife, gun and gang crime. "Does it have to be like this?" she asked.

"We have a long way to go. We have to do it together. We will conquer this by God's grace."

The event was introduced by Revd Kes Grant from St Hugh's and Fr Ray Andrews from St George the Martyr. Fr Ray presided at David's funeral last year and has built a close link with the Idowu family. He also led prayers at David's school, Walworth Academy, which staged its own memorial event earlier in the week.

Cllr Mackie Sheik, chair of Borough and Bankside Community Council, also addressed the gathering and recalled last year's march to Downing Street organised by David's family.

"I've worked in Southwark for three years and one of the things that really disappoints me is to go through our daily reports and look through some of the things that young people do to each other," said Supt Victor Olisa from Southwark Police.

"I've been a policeman for a very long time and I still can't understand why some of our young people behave so badly and use so much violence against each other."

He added: "One of the things that I've learnt from Grace and David's father is their ability to forgive the tragedy that happened to David.

"There's an adage that goes 'forgiveness is the key to action and freedom'. And David's parents are definitely taking action which is why we are here today to remember the the potential that David had and to make sure that the young people who are here today can reach that potential that David sadly will never get to reach."

The event was supported by Southwark Council, Bankside Open Spaces Trust, Blackfriars Settlement and Waterloo Sports and Football Club who are putting on a range of activities for local young people this summer.

A new football tournament, the David Idowu Memorial Cup, will be played each year on the Tabard Gardens astroturf.

Saturday's event also marked the launch of PEACEsong, a new single to be sold in aid of the campaign against youth violence.

By grim coincidence just a mile and a half from Tabard Gardens the evening programme at The Event in Southwark Park was called off after a young person was stabbed.

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