Home   Medway   News   Article

Knife Angel at Rochester Cathedral brings back memories of the night Matthew Cornelissen was stabbed in The Vines

A mum whose son was stabbed three times in a park for his mobile phone has spoken of the “chilling” moment she saw the Knife Angel.

The striking sculpture, made out of 100,000 surrendered and confiscated knives, is on display at Rochester Cathedral.

Matthew Cornelissen was knifed for his coat and his phone(4054587)
Matthew Cornelissen was knifed for his coat and his phone(4054587)

For one mum, it brought back memories of a terrible night.

Lesley Gordon-Davey was left devastated after her son Matthew Cornelissen was attacked as he walked home from a birthday dinner with friends a year ago.

Matthew, now 21, was knifed in the arm and wrists as he took a short cut through The Vines to the Rochester family home.

He was with three mates when he was surrounded by a gang of eight youths aged about 14.

The incident left him shocked and without the use of his hand for several months. He was also wary of going out alone and at night.

The knife sculpture in Rochester Cathedral gardens. Picture: Chris Davey. (16066593)
The knife sculpture in Rochester Cathedral gardens. Picture: Chris Davey. (16066593)

Mrs Gordon-Davey, 51, said: “At first they thought it was a joke and not the sort of thing you would expect in Rochester. But it’s crazy, chaos what’s going on in our streets and not just in London. It’s got worse since it happened.

“When I saw the statue on television, I paused it and found it chilling, to think what some of those knives could have been used for.

“I did not see it as a piece of artwork. I am going with Matthew to see it at the cathedral tonight( Tuesday).”

She said while Matthew had now made a full recovery and had got a job at building contractors, it was not until last weekend that he went out in Rochester for the first time in a year.

The Knife Angel at Rochester Cathedral (16072892)
The Knife Angel at Rochester Cathedral (16072892)

She added that Matthew, a former Rochester Math School pupil, and his girlfriend were planning to attend a memorial service at the cathedral on Saturday, September 21, at 5pm.

The Knife Angel, which stands about 25ft high, is a poignant reminder of the horrors of knife crime and raises awareness of stabbings which has now become a national crisis.

It has toured many venues across the country but this is the first time it has made a stop in the south east.

It is considered a national monument against violence and aggression and a powerful symbol of the dangers of carrying knives.

The project is a collaboration between the Home Office, 43 UK police constabularies, families of victims and the British Ironwork Centre in Shropshire.

Rev Nathan Ward, vicar at St Margaret’s Church in Rainham, is overseeing a knife crime prevention project in Medway
Rev Nathan Ward, vicar at St Margaret’s Church in Rainham, is overseeing a knife crime prevention project in Medway

The Rev Nathan Ward, vicar at St Margaret’s Church in Rainham, is overseeing the month-long initiative and is leading a government-funded project to prevent knife crime in Medway.

He said on Tuesday: “The response has been very positive and we have had people turning up at 7.30 this morning.

“Many have signed our book pledging to never to carry a knife.

“Contrary to popular belief, 99% of young people, aged between 10 and 21 do not carry a knife.

“The young people I have spoken to say they do because they feel unsafe even though we live, historically, in one of the safest times humans have ever known.” The Knife Angel is on display until September 29.

There is also a seminar, The Point Conference, being held at Chatham Historic Dockyard on Friday, September 13, with distinguished speakers lined up.

Teachers and parents are invited to a session between 4pm and 6pm.

For a full list of confirmed speakers and more information, visit the website www.thepointconference.org/

The conference will be chaired by the Bishop of Tonbridge, the Rt Rev Simon Burton-Jones.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More