Mother of murdered teen promotes anti-knife crime campaign

Yvonne Lawson’s son Godwin was killed in 2010, writes James Cracknell

Yvonne Lawson, from Enfield Wash, was made an MBE last year for her services tackling knife crime
Yvonne Lawson, from Enfield Wash, was made an MBE last year for her services tackling knife crime

An Enfield mum who’s son was murdered eleven years ago is one of five mothers leading a new campaign to tackle knife crime in the capital.

Yvonne Lawson’s son Godwin, a promising young footballer aged 17, was killed in March 2010 when he tried to help his friends fend off a group of attackers. In the time since the tragedy, she has set up a charity in her son’s name to provide more educational opportunities for young people in North London and, last year, was made an MBE for her services tackling knife and gang crime in London.

Now Yvonne is helping to lead a new anti-knife crime campaign, ‘Hard Calls Save Lives’, which is encouraging friends and family members to contact Crimestoppers with information about crimes that have taken place, or to help prevent crimes from taking place.

The campaign centres around a series of short films, where each of the five mothers involved reflects on the hardest calls they had to make after their sons were fatally stabbed. Yvonne and the others point out that by far the hardest call anyone could ever make is to inform someone of a family member’s death.

She said: “I rang my sister and said I’ve just been told Godwin has died. I just kept repeating ‘died, died, died’. Godwin was stolen away from us in such a terrible way.

“My family is broken into pieces, just missing him. We didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye, and he’s never going to be there, he’s never going to be part of us any more. The least we can do is use his memory to change lives.”

Talking to the Dispatch, Yvonne added that no-one should fear calling Crimestoppers, an independent organisation separate from the Metropolitan Police that guarantees to maintain the anonymity of anyone who calls in.

“We are aiming to encourage the community to get the courage and confidence to pick up the phone and report something to Crimestoppers if they have information about a crime.

“It could be the family of a victim or a perpetrator – it should not be seen as ‘snitching’ – you can do it anonymously. I know it can be awkward if you know a member of your own family is carrying a knife and it is hard to know what to do, but this campaign is urging them make that call.”

Yvonne is already active in various crime-reduction programmes, many of them focused around education, with the work she does with her charity, Godwin Lawson Foundation.

“It fits well with the work we have done previously with young people and their families, engaging them in positive initiatives,” Yvonne said. “It is about preventing as well as solving crimes. If you can make a call when you have information that can help prevent a crime, you should do it. We want people to empathise with those who have gone through it.

“Everyone has a role to play and to take responsibility – we are part of the same community.”

For more information about Hard Calls Saves Lives and to watch Yvonne’s appeal video:

To contact Crimestoppers anonymously:
0800 555 111

For more information about Godwin Lawson Foundation: