Belfast Telegraph

Brooke's worthy honour

By Lindy McDowell

In among the Sir Brucies and the Colin Firths and Bryan Ferrys named in the latest Honours list, is a young soap actress who wins her MBE for something a whole lot more serious than providing entertainment for the masses.

Brooke Kinsella was only 24 when her 16-year-old brother Ben became a victim of knife crime. He'd been celebrating getting his GCSEs when he was caught up in a fight and stabbed to death by a gang.

His brutal killing led the former EastEnders actress to put her acting career on hold while she launched a campaign against knife crime.

Her high profile, her youth and tragic experience, won massive coverage and respect - not least among the young people she wanted to target.

Brooke says of the award: "Part of me feels guilty about it and I'd rather it went to my mum and dad - they're my heroes. I told my dad that I couldn't accept it but he said I must accept it for Ben, so it's for him and the whole family."

Those self-effacing words reveal just something of the loss she and her family still feel. Her campaign has doubtless saved lives.

Something good has come of her young brother's terrible and senseless death.

Which is why, among all the gongs handed out to celebs this time round, surely the recognition of Brooke Kinsella MBE was the most richly deserved.

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