Standing against knife crime in honour of Tomasz Oleszak

Monday 12 December 2022

On Sunday 20 November, a crowd of over 800 supporters, friends and family of Tomasz Oleszak gathered at Gateshead Stadium to celebrate his life, which was tragically cut short by a knife attack.

14-year-old Tomasz was a keen footballer who played for both his school, Cardinal Hume, and Cleveland Hall CA, so it was fitting that the footballing community of Gateshead should unite to pay tribute to him and celebrate his life and his passion for football.

Many of the Year 10 Football squad from Emmanuel College took part (Eddie Allan, Liam Jackson, Lewis Bullock, Dev Celikay, Jacob Dale, Keiran Scott and Zach Halliwell) and they each received a commemorative medal, presented to them by Tomasz’s family.

Tomasz’s life and legacy now stands as a lasting reminder of the dangers of knife crime. We hope that his tragically short life will bring positive change to help make Gateshead a safer place for young people.

As part of our personal development programme at Emmanuel College, we dedicated a week of tutor times to the important topic of knife crime and personal safety: what this means, what the consequences can be for an individual and their families, as well as looking practically at emergency first aid. We have been impressed at the manner in which students have engaged with this serious topic. Like so many issues within personal development, this topic requires more than just understanding some basic facts; it challenges the way we respond to situations. We have seen how families have dealt with difficult issues like forgiveness, so powerfully, that it has helped them to deal with their loss. Above all, the message has been one designed to keep our students safe: to know when to walk away and get out of a potentially dangerous situation.