An anti-knife crime campaigner who hit the headlines for an amnesty scheme to take knives from young men and replace them with JD Sports vouchers has spoken about how important it is to make the right decisions in life.

Faron Paul, who has been stabbed 18 times, visited the Crystal Palace Academy to give a talk to the U16 and U18 players on how to stay away from crime and seize the opportunities they have.

Faron who was just 19 when was stabbed nine times whilst defending his sister from an unprovoked attack, said: “I came up with the idea to take knives off children in exchange for vouchers. I thought to myself: ‘it’s not kitchen knives they’ve got, it’s designer knives and if it’s designer knives, they clearly paid for it. 

“So maybe if I can give them back half of what they paid for the knives, they can hand it in to me.’ I’ve taken over 200 knives off the street, easily.

“I take a knife off a child and then I get a message from their mum saying, ‘ever since you spoke to my son, you’ve transformed him. I can’t thank you enough.’ That’s the kind of thing that fuels my drive. “

Now a father himself, Faron added: “I think of my mum in that position, being grateful to someone that got me on the right path. It genuinely pains me to see these youths just wasting their life. It hurts and that’s why I do this.”

“What I’d say to a young person is… ‘Life is too short to be making silly decisions’. The first thing to do is if you’ve got a passion for anything in the world, grab it with all you can and ask the people around you to help a bit. Because time’s not going to wait for you. 

“Make sacrifices now to live a stress-free life forever or you can be making sacrifices for your whole life.”

To view the video of Faron’s visit: