Camden News - by RICHARD OSLEY Published: 31 July 2008
Mohamed Hassan releases ballons
Football event that brings all sides together
THE Camden Unity Cup is celebrated as the perfect example of an event where teenagers can put energy to good use, often drawing teams from ethnic minority groups or from deprived areas of London. The kick-off on Saturday was considered the perfect opportunity for Mohamed Hassan, whose 17-year-old brother Sharma’arke was shot dead in Camden Town two months ago, to make a plea for youths to stay away from crime.
Before any play took place, he released into the sky a white balloon for each teenager murdered on the streets.
He praised the work of Fitzrovia Youth in Action as he stood alongside Holborn and St Pancras Labour MP Frank Dobson, councillors and the tournament’s organisers.
Mohamed Hassan said afterwards: “I’ve been coming to this youth centre for about a year and this tournament is so important to me. We just have to get our message out there to beat knives and get people to think about the meaning of life. “I don’t want my brother just to have died and nothing comes out of it so I felt it was my duty to stand up there and tell the youths that knife crime has to stop.”
The Unity Cup, which has been running for nine years, is spread over several weeks and is organised by a team of teenagers. More than 700 youngsters take part in various age groups and organisers say it has been successful in breaking down “territorial tensions”.
Nine Camden youth projects are involved and it is so well regarded that McDonald’s jumped at the chance to sponsor the tournament. The launch – just hours before Daniel Noel’s death – saw samba bands and a DJ provide musical entertainment.
Andre Schott, from Fitzrovia Youth In Action, said: “There will be a minute’s silence before every match in the Unity Cup this year to remember Daniel.”