Honour for knife crime campaigner

Mother whose son was stabbed to death was made an MBE for services to tackling knife crime

Yvonne Lawson picked up her MBE at Windsor Castle this week (image courtesy of Yvonne Lawson)
Yvonne Lawson picked up her MBE at Windsor Castle this week (image courtesy of Yvonne Lawson)

An Enfield mother whose son was stabbed to death has been honoured for her fight to stop more young people dying from knife crime.

Yvonne Lawson, who set up the Godwin Lawson Foundation almost a decade ago in memory of her son Godwin, was made an MBE in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to tackling knife and gang crime in London.

This week, Yvonne visited Windsor Castle to collect her award. She said: “This award is dedicated to our handsome son, Godwin, whose contagious smile kept me going regardless of the difficulties.

“It is also dedicated to all those who gave me a shoulder to cry on, those that wiped my tears when I didn’t have a tissue, those that made me tons of cups of tea to keep me warm, hugged and showed me love, those that held my hand and helped me to walk again, not forgetting the pots of jollof rice to feed the family.

“Above all, those that held my hand and prayed for my family. I just want to say thank you, this is our award and your reward.”

Godwin, a talented footballer, was killed in a knife attack in Stamford Hill in March 2010, when he was aged just 17. Since then, Yvonne has been heading up her foundation in his name, and has also set up education and community projects across London, all aimed at stopping young people getting caught up with gangs and knife crime and suffering the same fate as her son.

Yvonne, a former primary school teacher from Enfield Wash, lobbied the government in 2015 to change the law about knife crime. She was instrumental in encouraging them to introduce a ‘two strikes’ law which means anyone caught carrying a knife for a second time is given a mandatory sentence.

Godwin Lawson Foundation has developed links with sports clubs, community organisations and public sector bodies and Yvonne has worked with the Metropolitan Police to secure funding to support ‘early intervention’ that helps those at risk of school exclusion and gang grooming in Haringey and Enfield.

Earlier this year, Yvonne also helped launch a campaign from charity Crimestoppers which highlights the difference that family members can make in preventing crime.

She added: “The pain of losing a son is indescribable, but when it is so needless it makes it even worse. When I set up the Godwin Lawson Foundation nearly ten years ago, I wanted to ensure that my son’s death was not in vain.

“I want to see violence free community where each young life is valued, nurtured, and protected. Young people so much to offer and want them to thrive and contribute positively rather than have their lives and potential stolen.”

Find out more about Godwin Lawson Foundation:
Visit godwinlawsonfoundation.org