“It”s a bitter-sweet occasion for me and my family”: Brooke Kinsella dedicates her MBE for anti-knife campaigning to brother who was stabbed to death
Receiving an MBE should be the one of proudest achievements in a person”s career.
But for Brooke Kinsella, the Buckingham Palace event was tinged with sadness today.
The actress, who became a tireless anti-knife campaigner after her brother was stabbed to death, dedicated the honour to his memory.
Tinged with sadness: Brooke Kinsella received an MBE from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace today for her tireless campaign against knife-crime
Brooke also paid tribute to the scores of young people who have lost their lives to knife crime and stressed the way to combat the scourge was “awareness and education”.
Speaking after receiving the award from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace, the former EastEnders star, who was joined byher parents Debbie and George and her grandmother Gloria, said: “Today is so bitter-sweet for me and my family.”
“This is all Ben, it”s not me. I wouldn”t be here without him.
In loving memory: The actress dedicated the award to her brother Ben, who was stabbed to death in 2008
Family affair: Brooke was joined byher parents Debbie and George and her grandmother Gloria
“I wish I wasn”t here, to be honest – I would rather have my brother home.
“I”m so proud of him so I completely dedicate it to Ben and to every other kid we”ve lost.
“I fully understandI”m not the only person who does work like this so I”d like to be humble and recognise everybody who is working hard.”
Tribute: Brooke responded to the tragedy by setting up the Ben Kinsella Trust in her brother”s memory
Shock to the nation: 16-year-old Ben was stabbed while on a night out celebrating the end of his GCSEs
Themurder of talented 16-year-old Ben Kinsella while on a night out celebrating the end of his GCSEs in June 2008 shocked the nation and left his family devastated.
Brooke responded to the tragedy by setting up the Ben Kinsella Trust in her brother”s memory and becoming a prominent anti-knife crime activist.
Aftershe worked with the Conservatives on knife crime before the general election, Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May asked her to report on the effectiveness of projects designed to keep young people away from violent crime.
Announcingher findings in February, Ms Kinsella said prisons needed to be tougherand called for primary schools to give children anti-knife crime workshops.
Ms Kinsella, who wore a silver satin Bruce Oldfield dress, welcomed plans announced recently by Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke to automatically jail teenagers convicted of threatening others with a knife for at least two months.
She said: “For me, it”s definitely a doubled-edged sword.
“We do need that rehabilitation but we also need that tough punishment discipline.”
Left: Artist Sam Taylor-Wood proudly wears her OBE with partner Aaron Johnson and her children Angelica (right) and Jessie
MEANWHILE….Soldier proposes to his girlfriend after receiving gallantry medal
“I do!”: Private Bryan Johnson went down on one knee and asked partner Kirstie Ward to marry him
A soldier proposed to his girlfriend at Buckingham Palace today – minutes after being awarded a gallantry medal for saving a badly wounded colleague in Afghanistan.
Private Bryan Johnson, 24, went down on one knee and asked partner Kirstie Ward, 21, to marry him – popping a ring on her finger when she replied yes.
Just moments before, the Prince of Wales had awarded the soldier, from the Royal Regiment of Scotland, the Military Cross for showing selfless courage when he dragged his comrade away from a fire fight and gave him life-saving first aid.
But the Private appeared more nervous about proposing then meeting royalty.
After the investiture ceremony, he said: “I knew I was going to do it, but when I went to do it I luckily managed to get up enough confidence.
“I dropped to my knee and fortunately for my sake, to save embarrassment, she said yes.”
MsWard, from Newcastle upon Tyne, said: “It was a real surprise, I”m veryshocked and excited. We”ve known each other for three years but have only been going out since July.”
Asked about her fiance”s bravery in Afghanistan she said: “He”s just amazing”.
PteJohnson revealed that the location for the proposal – the Queen”s lavish London home – was not what prompted him, more the mood.
He said: “It was nothing to do with the place in general, I could have taken her somewhere else and it would still have been nice, it just felt like a good moment for it.”
Ms Ward was furiously texting her mother after the proposal as she and her new fiance were interviewed by a string of reporters and she was unable to speak on the phone.
The soldier received the gallantry award for helping a colleague in October last year when their patrol was ambushed with grenades and automatic gunfire unleashed upon them.
The Private stormed a nearby compound where the firing had come from with members of his patrol and when a comrade was shot and collapsed he dragged him away from danger despite coming under fire.
He gave him vital first aid then opened fire so other troops could remove the wounded man.
The soldier from the 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland added: “Adrenalin takes over, but it”s the same anywhere, one of your friends gets hurt and you”ll definitely do what you can to help them.
“I never even thought twice about it, I just ran forward and got him and we acted like a team to get him home safe and sound.
“You fear for your safety every day you”re out there but when you”re working with a good bunch of guys you can pull through it.”
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