Memorial held for much-loved football coach Antoin Akpom on 10th anniversary of his murder
Antoin’s untimely passing was at the centre of national media attention
Friends and family gathered together this weekend to remember much-loved football coach, Antoin Akpom who was stabbed to death in Leicester at just 20 years old. A memorial was held on Kent Street, where Antoin was killed, on Saturday September 9, on the 10th anniversary of his death.
Speeches were delivered by Antoin’s mother Cheryl Armatrading as well as the Lord Mayor Dr Susan Barton. A minute’s silence was also held by Antoin’s friends and family while candles were lit around a plaque in his memory, before balloons were released into the sky.
A service was also held at Nirvana FC in Hamilton for Antoin’s loved ones. Football had been a huge part of Antoin’s life.
Antoin was a community champion, a football coach to children and the founder Strive 4 Success which was later changed to Antoin Akpom Achievements Foundation after his death. The foundation hosts crime prevention workshops and provides opportunities for young people in the community.
Cheryl is now continuing her son’s legacy, through the foundation, and she recently set up the AA Foundation football team in Beaumont Leys in her son’s memory. She said: “It was very emotional for me as a mother, but it just goes to show the love that people had for Antoin.”
“The charity that we started in his memory is bringing people together and creating a platform for young people to have opportunities. His thing was about challenging behaviour and changing lives and that’s what we are doing.
“The charity has different intervention projects and workshops. He must be smiling seeing that everything that he wanted is becoming a reality.”
In her speech delivered at the memorial, the Lord Mayor said: “Antoin was just starting in life. He was engaged and has a baby boy. He wanted to make a real difference to young people’s lives through sport and he started his own business.
“We all know that Leicester is well known for its diversity and as the Lord Mayor I am proud of the community cohesion that we share across the city and its vital that we continue to strengthen this cohesion by working together and respecting each others cultures and values and doing what we can to eliminate persecution, hate crime and violence. I congratulate Cheryl for her dedication and positivity to keeping her son’s memory alive.”
She added: “We share in the pain and the violence that has taken place here and it’s obviously something we have to come together to eliminate from our communities.”
Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe was also among those to attend Antoin’s memorial. She said: “I think it’s really important that we are all here recognising and remembering the legacy of Antoin.
“I’d like to see the government declare knife crime as an epidemic, because if we do so, the right resources and investment can be put back into our communities, not just here in Leicester but everywhere. It’s horrifying for any family to go through a loss of this nature but to have to experience it with a young person is tremendously harmful.”
“The justice needed is a justice that ends knife crime for good.”