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A mother on a mission

MEMORIES: Patsy McKie holds a photograph of her son, Dorrie, who was killed in Manchester when he was just 15 years old

“IT’S NOT the police or the Government that will make a change, it’s God,” says Patsy Mickie, a mother and campaigner who has a message for young people.

In August 1999, Patsy’s life changed dramatically after her 15-year-old son Dorrie was shot and killed. Recalling the incident, she said: “Dorrie was a vibrant lad with a caring heart and an undying loyalty to his friends.

“In fact, his death really opened my eyes to how much he was loved by the people around him. When Dorrie was growing up, he was a much-appreciated pupil at school, with good reports that commented especially on his character and his helpful attitude towards the younger children.

CONSEQUENCES

“Then, in the third year of college, a change occurred. The brother of one of his friends belonged to a gang and was shot in the leg. Some time later, one of Dorrie’s friends got shot in the chest and arm. It was a silly issue about a bike – but had grave consequences on the Manchester streets. A year later, three fatal gang shootings occurred in one week, one of which killed my son.”

Dorrie, who had never been in trouble with the police in his life, became the centre of a police inquiry through his death. His murder led to the birth of Mothers Against Violence (MAV), an organisation that was set up at a time when gun violence was at its worst in inner city Manchester.

Following his death, mothers in the local community came together to take a stand against the rise in violence with words of hope. Nearly 20 years after the organisation began, gun and knife crime continues to sweep the nation as well as Manchester, disproportionately affecting the young in African Caribbean communities.

Following police cuts, social unrest and the continuation of street violence, Patsy shared her thoughts on the problem and solutions to the youth crime epidemic.
She said: “The solution to the problem is Jesus. No other person can transform a person’s life like Jesus.

“I believe parents are responsible to a certain age for their children but our children are lost. They are a lost generation through the things they hear, see and absorb. Our children must be trained and we need to start training them at home.”

She recited the Biblical quote, ‘Train the child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it’.

Patsy continued: “You have to remember that at that age, children are not emotionally developed. It’s the same with schools; I say to teachers that they are responsible for training these children.

“I think our young people need emotional training while they are growing up, and if they don’t get that, it’s very easy for them to fall into what’s happening today. The responsibility falls on the parents, the Government and us.”

Last week, Home Secretary Amber Rudd launched a Serious Violence Strategy to help steer young people away from crime, adding that there is a lack of evidence to suggest that harsh police cuts have played a part in street violence and killings.

Patsy, however, maintains that we do need a stronger police presence across England – but that police alone won’t solve the problem. “All the initiatives in place at the moment are a good thing, but without God, nothing is possible,” she said. “A lot of the time it’s about making these children and young people feel loved.

“I tell kids that I see how wonderful or how handsome they are when I see them doing something wrong.

INFLUENCES

“We need to be positive towards them to drive out the negative. We also need principles in our community and that influence comes from God and he influences us to do good.”

Now in its 19th year, Mothers Against Violence continues to serve the community.
The mothers provide mentoring support, educational awareness of gun and knife crime, counselling and outreach work that includes campaigns for positive change in the community.

Patsy added: “My involvement with MAV has brought me before the nation’s leaders. In MAV we come alongside grieving parents and parents who are concerned that their children will be caught up in gangs. We aim to go into schools and break the taboo about gangs and violence.

“We need to talk, and, much more importantly, we need to listen. I am still not really used to the idea that my son is not here. He is still so much a part of our lives. The loss we feel in our family has given me compassion for young men. I am interested in what moves them and what they think.”

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