A company has pledged funds to help tackle the scourge of knife crime in memory of one of its employees killed in horrific circumstances.

Robert Wilson, 53, was attacked after confronting a gang outside Thornton & Ross in Linthwaite in January 2020. Mr Wilson died of stab wounds and two other colleagues were also injured.

In response Thornton & Ross raised £20,000 at a charity golf day at Crosland Heath Golf Club and now company boss Roger Scarlett-Smith has committed to creating a fund to support charities working to prevent young people becoming caught up in knife crime.

One Community, the Kirklees community foundation, will manage the fund on behalf of the company.

One Community is to set up a panel to award grants with a call for applications in early 2022 from charities and groups working in the Kirklees area to combat knife crime and change attitudes.

Mr Scarlett-Smith, executive vice-president UK/US, said: “We hope that we can prevent other young people becoming caught up in knife crime by working closely with local charities in Kirklees to enable them to work with more children or explore different approaches to arrest this worrying trend.”

Tracy Brabin at Thornton & Ross Charity Golf Day

One Community CEO Emma Woods-Bolger added: “We are proud to be working with Thornton & Ross on this innovative approach to supporting the community, and the response from many Kirklees businesses has been great.

“It really shows that when we work together, we can make a positive difference in our community.”

Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin, who attended the golf day, also welcomed the creation of the fund.

She added: “Part of my role is to oversee the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, which brings together organisations across local communities to tackle the underlying causes of serious violence.

“It also helps fund vital projects that undertake positive, preventative work with children and young people. It is really important and I’m so glad that Thornton & Ross have started this scheme.”