Jimmy parents in anti-violence call
The parents of murdered schoolboy Jimmy Mizen have repeated their calls to fight against violence in young people as they prepare to mark the fifth anniversary of their son's death.
Jimmy Mizen was killed on May 10 2008 - the day after his 16th birthday - after he was attacked in Lee, south-east London. Jake Fahri is serving a life sentence for the teenager's murder.
Since his death, Jimmy's parents Barry and Margaret Mizen have battled to make young people safer - including creating the Jimmy Mizen Foundation which works to increase young people's awareness of the consequences of violent crime.
To mark the fifth anniversary of their son's death - a day after what would have been his 21st birthday - they have released a book, Jimmy: A Legacy Of Peace, and are planning a memorial service for Friday as well as three weeks of action including sponsored challenges and community initiatives dubbed Jimmy21.
Mrs Mizen, 60, said: "Take me back to May 9 2008 and I was a housewife and a mother, that was my life. In a way I feel that was taken away from me when Jimmy's life was taken, but the things we're doing now are things I would never have in a million years thought I would be, meeting people I can't believe I'm meeting... Everything we do is tinged with that sadness. I don't think of Jimmy now as the boy he was, I think of him as the man he would have aspired to be and he would have been a really decent young man."
The book came from a need to empty her head of all the thoughts keeping her awake at night, she said. "I couldn't sleep, my head was like a television that wouldn't turn off, night after night. I thought if I was to put what was in my head into words, into a book, then it might give me some rest. Also, I wanted to give families hope, I wanted it to be about Jimmy but also about hope that out of something so tragic some good could come.
"The family have planned a memorial service at St George's Cathedral, Southwark, where they have invited family, friends, and some politicians, but on Friday morning they will visit Jimmy's grave to lay flowers and pray.
Mr Mizen, 61, said they had made a conscious decision not to harbour anger or feelings of revenge against their son's killer and not to be "sucked down into a sewer of hate".
The couple said support for the foundation was still growing, with people supporting their message, and felt lucky to have received the support they had. "Some people say, 'How can you feel lucky, you lost your beautiful son?'," said Mrs Mizen. "But we can't bring him back. It doesn't matter how angry I feel, how vengeful I want to feel, I can't bring Jimmy back.
"If anything gives me encouragement to go on and help people it's when you see the sadness in other families' eyes. We can't go on losing our children or our children killing our children. Somewhere along the line we have got to do something to stop it, and that means everyone standing up on this and working together for change."