Mason Moore & Vaughan Moore | 2 June 2023
FOUNDING MEMBER of The Specials, Dr Neville Staple, alongside wife Sugary Staple, issued a touching tribute to their grandson Fidel Glasgow, who was tragically stabbed to death in Coventry in March 2018, at last night’s unveiling of the Knife Angel in Nuneaton.
In his speech at the historic and momentous unveiling, he quoted lyrics to The Specials’ hit song ‘Concrete Jungle’, before proceeding to sing: “I’m going out tonight / I don’t know if I’ll be alright / Everyone wants to hurt me.”
He said: “I’m honoured to be here today to witness the Knife Angel arriving to Nuneaton. Like many of our families and loved ones, it brings a stark reminder of losses in life. Let’s all sing the lyrics to Concrete Jungle,” before performing a live rendition.
He continued: “I wish that was not the case. I wish that everyone could go about their business without knife threats, violence, and harm. I wish that my grandson Fidel and others were not taken from us to knife crime, especially the young ones.”
His wife, Sugary Staple, said: “I was supposed to have my stepdaughter Melanie here with us today, but it all became just a bit too much for her, and at the last minute she cried and pulled out. It’s been five years since she lost her son, my step-grandson and Neville’s grandson, Fidel, when his life was taken, and the person who took his life is still moving around through life with no consequence.
“Others were there. They witnessed the awful murder, but they too, are walking through life with no consequence, nothing on their conscience. Perhaps that is the key word here — “Consequence”. What are the consequences of using vicious weapons on another human being to maim or kill?
“Are we do it enough to even stop the carrying of knives from on the streets from being the norm? Is it already the norm? I don’t know how to change the things the generations before us. The generations of young people and adults who are already in a vicious cycle of using weapons for protection for ‘the just in case’.
“But I do know that police, politicians, and local leaders are not the only ones who need to look at this. I believe that we need to nurture the very young people of now, today. If we are to ensure the next generation do not grow up, thinking is okay to put a blade in their pocket for a night out, or for just walking around the streets with their friends.
“I said before, we need some old values to parent – we need to look where young Jimmy is going with his mates – what’s in his pockets? What’s hidden in his clothes? What is he sharing or watching on his phone? Be that parent that checks. Be that parent that talks about these things, the same way you might talk to children about strangers, or the dangers of illegal drugs.
“Don’t assume your own sweet little son, daughter, grandchild, nephew, niece, or neighbour is beyond all of this, because there are pressures that children face that we might not understand. Let’s try to understand.
“If we take a moment to get them off their phones and talk to them for a bit, just check things out, talk to them properly. You might just be able to give them some support from the peer pressures that they may be experiencing.
“Lets work to give the next generation the right mindset to treasure life and not even consider an option for taking a weapon out.
“Equally, we need to offer support and refuge to people of all ages who want to step away from a life of violence Neville and l have met many people on our journey, who have reached out for help getting away from the peers who expect them to do things they wished not to do.
“Let’s all be that support system, it could potentially save lives. Finally, The Iron Works, The Knife Angel, Alfie Bailey (Knife Angel sculptor), who we previously met, this reminds us of just how dangerous our streets can be – in the most inspiring, yet haunting way. It can talk to you, it can provoke you, it can dazzle you.
“For me, it also disturbs me with feelings of dread too, but it’s a super structure that represents pain and hurt in the most beautiful way. Please, bring your family and friends to see and talk about the Knife Angel and feel it’s powerful message. Its a masterpiece piece on the street.”
Neville Staple: ‘It will inspire youngsters’
Exclusively talking to the Hinckley Free Press, Dr Staple said: “Its nice to see a lot of young people around – because a lot of the young ones, they need educating. The Knife Angel brings back bad memories for us, about our grandson.
“I think it [the Knife Angel] will inspire more youngsters to bring their knives in, and it sounds pretty good that you’ve had so many knives handed in [more than 80 last week], so let’s see if we can get some more people, not just youngsters, to hand them in.”
“It’s about addressing it when they’re young”
Sugary Staple said: “We’ve done a speech today at the Knife Angel here in Nuneaton, and the amount of people that came along has been amazing. We’re trying to raise awareness, and we do a lot of talks on the subject, and to get people to even have a conversation.
“Let’s discuss how we can address these crimes that are happening with knives, particularly with young people. The amount of violence and the stabbings is just on shocking levels.
“Let’s not have it become a norm, it seems to be becoming a norm and, and we’re trying to address that and we’re talking about educating children when they’re young.
“Let’s get the next generation talking from an early age about the peer pressure that might affect them, that might get pushed on them, that they may not want, let’s have a support system for parents for schools, where people can turn whether it’s the person themselves the young person, or the parents or the teachers.”
“It’s about addressing it from when their young. I’m glad they’ve come there’s so many families here today, and that’s just brilliant, because that’s what you want the conversation to be struck up so that they’ve got somebody to discuss, talk to them about where those knives came from, and what made this angel be created in the first place.”
She urged those who carry blades to bin them, adding: “There’s going to be knives bins and stuff around. Just put them in, just rid yourself of that the responsibility. That could be the responsibility of taking the life – get rid of them.”
Dr Staple is a vocal campaigner against knife-crime and violence, and regularly gives talks encouraging people to dispose of knives and keep them off the streets. A year after his grandson lost his life, he released a song titled “Put Away Your Knives”.
‘Dual message of hope and tragedy all in one’
Deputy Leader for Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Coun. Clare Golby, spoke about the sculpture.
Speaking yesterday (10 June), Clare Golby said: “We’ve had quite a lot of interest in the Knife Angel today. There’s been a steady flow of people from earlier this morning I got down into the town about 9am, and they’d already been multiple pictures put on Facebook and people talking about it. The throughput has been phenomenal today better than I expected it to be.
“We need to get people aware of what this actually means. It’s not just a case of ‘stick a statue in the town centre’. There’s a bigger message behind it. We’re running education classes as well in our schools. It’s something that you need to talk to your kids about.
“It’s the school holidays, so bring your kids down and have that conversation. I can’t emphasise that enough, you know. The whole thing has come together really nicely.
“It’s a really interesting piece because it comes with the dual message of tragedy and hope all in one. Some of the knives were used in criminal activities. Some of those knives have taken people’s lives. So you need to be faced with that.
“I would encourage everybody from all of the surrounding areas to come and see this, and write a message, and leave it on the fence. On market day on Wednesday, we’ve got the NABSCOP (Nuneaton and Bedworth Safer Communities Partnership) market stall, with safety equipment and the tags.”
Mayor: ‘Two-second thing, lifetime memory’
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Mayor, Coun. Martin Walsh, said: “It’s actually a very proud moment for here in Nuneaton and Bedworth to have this Knife Angel.
“Unfortunately, society has gotten to that point where knife violence is too commonplace.
“Hopefully, having this statue here will help people realise what knife crime can cause and the problems it causes. Its a two second thing, but it’s a lifetime memory.”