Only Cowards Carry: Charity’s lesson plan to stop Islington’s children carrying weapons

Caroline Shearer with murdered son Jay

Caroline Shearer with murdered son Jay - Credit: Archant

Schools in Islington are being urged by the family of murdered teen Alan Cartwright to take up the offer of free anti-violence workshops.

Caroline Shearer wants to warn all children about the dangers and consequences of carrying knives

Caroline Shearer wants to warn all children about the dangers and consequences of carrying knives - Credit: Archant

Thanks to an anonymous donor, the weapons awareness charity Only Cowards Carry is offering free classes to primary and secondary schools across the borough to warn them of the dangers and consequences of carrying knives.

Workshops are interactive and tailored to suit the needs of the school. It uses graphic material provided by the police to persuade youngsters of the dangers, with workshops delivered by victims’ relatives and ex-gang members.

The charity was approached by Cherrie Ives, whose 15-year-old brother Alan was stabbed to death during a bike theft in Caledonian Road in February 2015, to visit local schools.

Caroline Shearer set up Only Cowards Carry in November 2012 in memory of her son, Jay Whiston, a few months after he was stabbed to death.

“I noticed there was no provision in any educational place regarding awareness of weapons and the dangers,” she said. “And I kept thinking that if my son had known the dangers then perhaps he would be alive today.”

To date, the charity has worked with more than 50,000 children.

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Ms Shearer said 72 per cent of those admitted they had carried a weapon, would carry one or knew someone who did.

“Even if a school doesn’t think it has a problem, it’s their duty to teach them what life is like on the outside,” Ms Shearer said.

Schools interested in taking part are urged to contact Only Cowards Carry Weapons Awareness on 01255 428744 or to email To find out more visit the charity’s website here.

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