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Why Huyton mum Gee Walker thoroughly deserves her Pride of Britain award

3 years ago

Why Huyton mum Gee Walker thoroughly deserves her Pride of Britain award

When her teenage son was murdered in a vicious racist attack, Gee Walker refused to allow the pain to turn into bitterness, instead forgiving his killers and making it her mission to promote racial harmony.

It’s a quest she continues – but for which she has already achieved so much.

And this week millions will see Huyton mum Gee collect the national Pride of Britain Special Recognition Award, given for her work with the Anthony Walker Foundation she established in his name.

Gee, 67, says: “I’m grateful to be honoured with a Pride of Britain Award.

“It was totally unexpected. If he’d lived, I believe Anthony would have been doing the sort of work I’m doing with the foundation.

“Although I can never fulfil his potential, if I can do a little of the work he may have done, then the hard work is worth it. Racism is still rife, but I have to feel hopeful for the future.”

The Award was given to Gee in a star-studded ceremony in London, which will be screened on ITV on Thursday evening.

And it marks an appreciation and acknowledgement of what she has done in the last 15 years, and the promise that she has kept…

The Anthony Walker Foundation was established in 2006, a year after the racially motivated murder of Anthony.

Anthony Walker

The 18-year-old was a devout Christian with a love of basketball, known to his family and friends for his humour, intelligence and compassion. Anthony was halfway through college with dreams of visiting America and studying Law at university – but in July 2005 he was murdered not far from his home, chased from a bus stop and killed with an ice pick.

It was a brutal assault.

Gee said: “What happened to my son should never have happened – but it did.  I can give in or I can keep his memory alive and try to change the path for others; so that what happened to Anthony serves as a lesson for others, and so that his death has not been for nothing.”

Anthony Walker with Mum, Gee

And that is exactly what she has done.

The Anthony Walker Foundation works to tackle racism, hate crime and discrimination by providing educational opportunities, victim support services and by promoting equity and inclusion for all.

In the last five years alone, the Anthony Walker Foundation has worked with around 40,000 young people through education and outreach programmes.

It has supported nearly 5,000 people through its Hate Crime Support service. That help comes in different forms, both practical and emotional. Some people simply need to talk about an incident, others need help re-integrating into work or school, and others need guidance. Any help or support is based on individual need.

The Foundation goes into schools and areas where hate crimes are reported. With a school, for example, it takes a whole and holistic approach, offering individual support for a young person who has experienced a hate crime, professional training for staff, policy support and, even, intervention with the perpetrator.

The idea is to challenge prejudice and stereotypes and educate young people to value difference, welcome communities and cultures, practise equality and tackle discrimination through direct positive participation and engagement.

In February this year, it launched its ‘Speak Out! Stop Hate.’ Campaign, a new initiative to tackle and prevent racially and religiously motivated hate in the Liverpool City Region.

It has a new hate crime reporting tool which helps victims or witnesses report an incident anonymously or otherwise; and it boasts a host of opportunities to raise knowledge and confidence when tackling hate crime, including training programmes to help educate people and get everyone involved in making safer and stronger communities.

Helped by family and all those involved with the Anthony Walker Foundation, Gee has made huge strides and refuses to give up on the work and efforts for which she has, now, been rightly rewarded.

However hard it can be personally – “as a mother, the pain of losing a child never goes away, you just learn to cope” – Gee is steadfast in wanting Anthony’s death to be a catalyst for change.

“I don’t understand hate, and I have no place in my heart for it,” she says – and that’s why she spends her life working to help others feel the same.

The Pride of Britain Special Recognition Award is hugely deserved.

* The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards in partnership with TSB, will be broadcast on Thursday, November 4, on ITV: 8pm.

You can find out more about the Anthony Walker Foundation HERE.

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