Islington bus hero in plea for help with inspirational arts festival for young

A graphic designer who was stabbed protecting elderly bus passengers from a gang of hoodlums is appealing for help to put on an art festival to help youths stay away from crime.

Tim Smits, 33, was knifed twice last year after confronting three thugs and spent five days in hospital.

In an attempt to bring some good from his horrific ordeal, the prominent artist has invited some of the world’s most influential creative professionals to a week-long arts festival.

The climax of the event is a two-day conference at the Barbican, in Silk Street, Finsbury, and Mr Smits wants to give 50 free tickets away to help young people in Islington, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, realise their dream.

He has already raised �3,000, but reckons he will need �100,000 to stage the event and is appealing to the community to get involved.

He said: “It’s almost exactly a year since my attack happened and it’s nice that a year that started off so badly has turned into something quite positive. It’s a project I was working on for the past three years but then after the attack everything came to a halt. Originally it was going to be a handful of creative world leaders talking about how they came to be who they are.

“But I wanted to combine that with how I was feeling after the attack and invite everybody – particularly kids who can use creativity to channel their energy positively. Everyone has a talent, but it can be hard realising your dreams. That’s where we can help, acting as mentors and so on.

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“But, among other things the attack really screwed me up financially, and I need everyone’s help to get this thing together.”

Seven of the 14 speakers have been confirmed, including Johnny Cupcakes, who created a mult-million pound clothing label, and UK illustrator Gemma Correll.

But Mr Smits told the Gazette he is in talks with Aardman Animations, the team behind Wallace and Gromit, and a world famous photographer from France.

He added: “I think this festival could really help kids who might otherwise get into trouble to do something really positive. And that’s better for all of us.”

The Kaleidescope Festival is a week long series of workshops, talks and pop-up events. Any young person from Islington can apply for a free ticket by going to

To help Mr Smits with a donation visit