Emeli Sande to perform tribute to Stephen Lawrence 20 years after his murder

 

Emeli Sande, Rizzle Kicks and Labrinth are among the stars who will perform at a concert in memory of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, 20 years after he was stabbed to death.

The event - to be staged at London's O2 Arena - will raise funds for a trust set up in his name to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Plan B, Jamie Cullum, Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Ed Sheeran are also among the stars taking part in the show on 29 September designed to champion young people.

Stephen's mother, Doreen Lawrence, who founded the trust, said: "We work every day to empower youth and we're so proud that the music industry is joining us in reaching out to change the lives of young people.

"I want young people to feel inspired, be confident and have hope in their own future.

"There have been a further 106 racist murders since Stephen was killed 20 years ago and there are still too many young people who do not have a sense of hope."

Her son was was 18 when he was stabbed in a racist attack in Eltham, south east London, in April 1993. Two men - Gary Dobson and David Norris - were found guilty of the murder last year and the police investigation still remains "live".

The Metropolitan Police were criticised for their handling of the initial investigation and, as a result, the force was judged to be institutionally racist in a subsequent public inquiry.

The show, Unity: A Concert For Stephen Lawrence, has been backed by London Mayor Boris Johnson. Artists also include Rudimental and Soul II Soul.

Emeli Sande performed for around 100 people including schoolchildren at a launch event at London's Abbey Road studios, which also included the Rizzle Kicks and was attended by Mrs Lawrence.

Mrs Lawrence said the money raised by the concert would help her foundation, which has struggled for funding in recent years, to continue its work for another 20 years.

Speaking afterwards she said that she would like to see the Government provide more funding.

She said they had received some emergency funding from the Home Office, but added "we shouldn't have to do that".

"We shouldn't have to think 'that's just a one-off'. They should look to continue to do it," she said.

"They have seen the work that we do, they have seen the progress we have made, they have seen all the opportunities that young people have had since they have been at the Stephen Lawrence Centre.

"I think that should be something that makes them say: 'Ok, we want to support an organisation like you, you can make a difference to so many young lives, get them off the streets, get them into education, get them into a profession.'

"That is what I would like to see the Government do a lot more of."

Mrs Lawrence also criticised a decision to reportedly give her son's convicted killers more than £400,000 in legal aid.

"Most people say they know it is them (who were guilty) and they have managed to secure the best legal team that there is and so no, I don't think the public should be paying for them," she added.

"They have chosen not to work, they have chosen not to get into society like everybody else, have a job and be respectable. Why should we have to pay for them?"

Tickets will go on sale on Friday at www.aeglive.co.uk.

PA

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