The widow of a man brutally stabbed to death outside the Linthwaite factory where he worked is supporting a campaign to warn young people about the dangers of carrying knives.
Elaine Wilson’s husband Robert was repeatedly attacked outside Thornton & Ross in Manchester Road in January last year. His killers, who were then aged 18 and 16, were jailed for life in September.
Mrs Wilson is now working with the Kirklees District Early Action Team through the Positive Engagement Against Knives (PEAK) project, which supports young people to help make them feel safer, realise their potential and improve community cohesion.
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 Foundation – in 2019 with Proceeds of Crime Act funding and approached Mrs Wilson about supporting its work.
Mrs Wilson 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. She recently joined a workshop run by the team at Westborough High School in Dewsbury.
Mrs Wilson gave an emotional and powerful account of what happened to her husband, with students then invited to ask questions.
The Kirklees District Early Action Team is also planning a ‘Robert Wilson Memorial Award’ for the best student on the project, which is run by PCs Paul Jackson and Richard Booth.
PC Jackson 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.”
John Keyes, of the Town Foundation, said: “As part of my role with the Foundation we aim to inspire 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.”