On September 20th 2008 I managed an event called “The Peoples march against Knife crime” after 29th deaths of teenagers on London streets that Year something drastic needed to be done and when we brought together 63 victim families in total to march and speak as one voice we hoped it would lead to politicians and media owners taking the problem of youth violence more seriously and investing in the positive solutions needed to end the cycle. Sadly this was not the case.
The new Mayor of London supplied us with a video to show on a large screen we erected in Hyde Park – It was a message intended to support our initiative – He spoke about the Olympics planned for 2012 and also his Bike scheme – He congratulated those present for their ambition to see an end to the violence and for doing something positive.
One of the victim family members present on the march was an ex British light heavyweight boxing champion called Mark Prince. Mark lost his son Kyian to youth violence in 2006 – His son was captain of the England youth football team and touted as a future England captain. I met Mark at a planning meeting we staged in Islington with family members of Ben Kinsella who had tragically been killed a couple of months back – It was a sombre setting but Mark was typically upbeat and determined despite his pain which was still raw and very evident – This is the kind of guy he is.
Fast forward almost 5 Years and Mark is seeking a return of his boxing license so that he can return to the ring and fight for a living – His desire and passion fuelled by his need to carry on his youth empowerment work – sadly he has fallen victim to the cuts and the economic crisis and so has turned to the only trade he knows – The noble art of boxing.
I have seen Mark working with kids and seen first hand how impressive he is as a role model and mentor – The youth identify with him both for how real and accessible he is but also how inspirational he remains despite his loss. He really believes in young people and they identify with this very clearly.
The work that Mark does is vital and if we are going to ever see an end to the cycle of violence that continues to blight London’s inner city communities then people like him need support and investment – he is now fitter and more focused than in his heyday – He is 44 he is not a spring chicken. Plenty of fighters older than him are still fighting however and do not have the same drive and desire – I do not believe the Boxing Board of Control should be depriving us of the opportunity to see mark Prince climb back in the ring.
Every punch Mark throws he will throw for every one of us fighting youth violence. This is not about winning titles this is about making a difference.
In 5 Years in office the Mayor of London has done nothing to even come close to even helping to find solutions to the problems our inner city communities face. His investment record in youth projects is atrocious and apart from the boy scouts and girl guides he seems completely detached.
Mark Prince is the kind of hero we need so if you are reading this blog I implore you to show support through social networks or by emailing your support to the British Boxing Board of Control firstname.lastname@example.org and let its Chairman Mr Charles Giles know your views.
Mark can be found on twitter @markno1prince and the hash tag I would ask you to include in any message is #ReturnOfThePrince
I know that Mark has the full support of many other victim families including Richard Taylor and Brooke Kinsella who were both part of that momentous Peoples March and who remain two of the most prominent campaigners against youth violence in the Country.