Prime Minister Awards Essex Knife Crime Campaigner

4 February 2015, 05:49 | Updated: 4 February 2015, 05:52

Jay Whiston and mum

A mum from Essex - who set up an anti-knife crime charity following the murder of her son - has been recognised by the Prime Minister.

Caroline Shearer set up "Only Cowards Carry" after her son Jay Whiston was stabbed in Colchester and has now been named a Point of Light by David Cameron.

The Point of Light award recognises "outstanding individual volunteers, who are making a change in their community and inspiring others".

Caroline's son Jay was just 17 year-old was he was stabbed at a house party in September 2012. Determined that no mother should have to suffer the loss of a child from violence she set up "Only Cowards Carry" which goes into schools and provides workshops to educate children about the danges of knives.

So far the charity has given presentations to more than 25,000 young people, and has inspired groups from as far afield as Scotland and Wales.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Caroline is working tirelessly with her team of dedicated young volunteers to ensure that something positive comes out of the unspeakable tragedy she suffered when her son was murdered.

"Her determination to tackle knife crime is having a direct impact on young people across the county. I am honoured to name her a Point of Light"

Caroline said: "Although I am very proud to be recognised for the award I am even prouder of my staff. I am not their backbone, they are mine.

"For the Prime Minister to recognise us is one of the best accolades we could have wished for. 'Only Cowards Carry Weapons Awareness' is an umbrella for everyone who wants to see our children and streets safe."

Caroline's local MP, Douglas Carswell, said: "Caroline has suffered an enormous loss as a Mum.  Yet she has campaigned to ensure that no other mum has to endure what she has had to go through. 

"She is making a real difference for young people in Clacton.  It is wonderful that the Prime Minister has paid tribute to her this way."

Caroline is the 213th winner of the Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.