A Preston man uses the loss of his brother to teach children how serious and dangerous carrying a knife can be.
Byron Highton is the Knife Crime Manager at Safety Guide and tours the North West of England to deliver a talk to different schools, warning of the dangers that carrying knives can pose.
Sadly, Byron lost his younger brother Jon-Jo in 2014, when he was stabbed to death in a horrific attack that led to six men being given life sentences for his murder.
Since then the he has turned what was one of the most tragic events that can happen to a family into a positive by creating a for-kids talk which details what his family went through.
Byron uses his life experience with the loss of his brother to teach children the dangers of knife crime and the effect it can have on families and the community.
“It makes people cry and we’ve had 5 people pass out in the last 6 months,” Byron told us.
The talks, which are given to children of a variety of ages across the county, are aimed at being relatable and have so far yielded positive feedback from audiences.
“Some police say it’s cause I’m covered in tattoos, some say it’s cause the kids can relate to me, other schools say it’s my teaching method.
“But I’ve never been trained on my teaching methods, it’s just me, I talk like me, act like me, I don’t change my lingo or slang.
“What can I say, I’ve been Byron from Deepdale and applied what I thought would work and it randomly does work.”
The weight of speaking to young people about a topic that is so close to the Prestonian has put a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders, but Byron realises how important it is to continue spreading his story.
“Even though someone has sent you a nice message, there’s always something in that message that is quite upsetting.
“I’ve not quite learnt how to deal with it yet, it is a lot to take on board.
“I’m probably more exhausted now than I would have been when I used to be a builder and I’ve not even lifted a finger really but the pressure it has on my mind.
“At the same time, it’s a pressure that I wouldn’t give up hence why I do it, I love it.”
Music has also been a valuable way for Byron to connect with young people; using rap music inspired by the tragedy that his family suffered, he regularly is told that the songs posted on his YouTube channel have helped other people.
Byron regularly posts about the work he is doing on his twitter account, you can check that out here.
Safety Guide is currently in the process of rebranding to SafeStart, you can see all the work that they do on their website here.