THE family of a Crosby man murdered in a knife attack will run the Virgin London Marathon to raise funds for emergency packs in youth footfall areas across Merseyside,
Laura Hughes, from Formby, established In Memory of Colin McGinty, a #kNOwknifecrime initiative that aims to educate young people on the wider lasting impact of knife crime and dissuade the carrying of knives and other weapons after the death of her brother, Colin McGinty in 2001.
Laura said: “In 2019 on what would’ve been Colin’s 40th birthday year, my three surviving brothers and I decided to run the Liverpool Rock n Roll half marathon in Colin’s memory. We had no prior running experience and once the word got out, we went from four of us to almost 100 of us in that first race, all proudly wearing t-shirts with Colin’s face on the front.”
In two short years, despite the pandemic, Laura has accrued over 200 people to run in Colin’s memory at various races in Liverpool, Ireland, Spain, and America and now they will face their toughest challenge yet with the Virgin London marathon - a race they have trained for, three times!
She added: “We were supposed to take part in April 2020, having trained for six months for the event. Due to COVID it was postponed to later in the year, which we trained for again and now it’s been moved for the third time. It’s been pretty tough training three times!” Said Laura.
Over the last two years, the running team have raised over £20,000 in Colin’s memory which with the support of local charity Cash4Kids, has funded knife crime awareness projects across Merseyside, Lancashire and Manchester.
Colin’s brother Robert McGinty who is a head teacher in a high school said, “Our family have gone through the lasting and devastating effect of knife crime but I also see the shocking rise of the glamour of knives among young people in my work in schools. I know there is so much to be done to lessen the appeal of carrying a knife and continue to educate young people on the long term and lifelong dangers. It has been both difficult and an honour to tell Colin’s story over and over and be able to support and fund the educational projects through our running fundraising.”
Prior to the original marathon date, Laura, Robert and their family were proud to work with Merseyside Police, Everton Football Club and Everton in the Community in a series of events to engage local children.
Hundreds of Year 6 and Year 7 school children from across Merseyside took part in anti-knife crime workshops which featured Colin’s story. Each group was asked to submit a design for a stand-out mascot costume to be designed and made by Jellyhead Studios - famous for many elaborate running mascot costumes featured each year at The London Marathon.
Young finalists in the design competition were invited to a special judging day at Goodison Park. The winning mascot was designed by pupils from Broadgreen Primary School who envisioned a blue heart emblazoned with the In Memory of Colin McGinty logo and the #BladeFree anti-knife crime hashtag.
The team hopes that the mascot will stand out at the race and boost their fundraising efforts. A text to donate message features on the back of the large costume. Donations from the marathon will directly fund a project to purchase vital KnifeSaver haemorrhage control kits in cabinets across key communities where children frequent throughout the region. The purpose of the KnifeSaver kits is to stop or slow the flow of bleeding after a knife incident occurs whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive. After being stabbed, a person can bleed to death in just 5 minutes and a rapid response ambulance (pre pandemic) often takes 7 minutes to arrive at the scene.
Laura added, “Deaths due to knife crime have increased by 36% since 2011. If our fundraising efforts and KnifeSaver bleed control packs can help save lives and spare what our family went through when Colin was taken from us, our blisters and sore legs will be worth every step.”
The Virgin London Marathon will take place on Sunday October 3, 2021. To donate to the In Memory of Colin McGinty team fund, please visit www.inmemoryofcolinmcginty.com