Today would have been Kiyan Prince’s 30th birthday.
For Dr Mark Prince OBE and the rest of his family it’s an incredibly difficult landmark. Kiyan was destined for great things before his life was tragically cut short at the age of just 15 in May 2006.
Mark Prince’s son, Kiyan, was tragically stabbed to death in Edgware in May 2006
The QPR youth prospect was stabbed to death outside his school in Edgware after trying to break up a fight.
Mark was consumed with anger in the aftermath of the tragedy, but after turning to God channelled his emotions towards helping others and granting himself peace in his own life.
And that he has done. Prince set up the Kiyan Prince Foundation in memory of his late son, using motivational speaking and boxing training to engage with young people about knife and gang crime.
And after years of tireless campaigning, Prince, who has an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Ministry, received an OBE at Buckingham Palace last March.
Queens Park Rangers also renamed their ground the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium from the start of the 2019/20 season.
The west London side have supported Mark relentlessly over the years and as a mark of respect to their former academy starlet are asking fans to wear blue and white on Wednesday to celebrate what would have been a landmark celebration.
Supporters are also being asked to make a small donation to the Foundation as part of the #Kiyan30 initiative.
Kiyan was highly regarded by the west London side
Prince is quite understandably struggling to contain his emotions at this time, but he’s grateful for the support he has received from QPR, as well as from people far and wide.
We can’t just keep reaching out to the young people without the support we’ve been getting over the years,” Prince told talkSPORT.
“The club, as well as QPR fans, have been fantastic and supported us with so many events over the years.”
Prince says the overriding pain of Kiyan’s loss never gets easier, but his packed schedule helps him to focus on helping others who are stuck in difficult situations in their respective lives.
You find yourself just wanting to lock yourself away and you don’t want to really deal with anything,” he explained.
It’s really easy to not deal with these things and get drawn into your emotions.
“I’ve been fighting that battle for a long time. It’s a tough battle but you just keep it moving.
“You have to just bleed [the pain] out. That’s all you can do. People say it [the grief] gets better, but in reality you just learn how to bleed out. I woke up on Tuesday morning and saw many messages on my phone and just broke down.
Mark was awarded an OBE last March for his work tackling knife crime
“I’ve just learnt how to break down and keep inspiring other people.I encourage people to find another way. Addiction isn’t it, suicide isn’t it – find another way.”
Knife crime remains a prevalent issue in this country. In the year ending March 2020, there were around 46,000 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales.Prince has called on the government to take far stronger action for well over a decade now, but the same problems still arise and he now fears it is getting worse.
“If you go back to the start when I first did interviews on this topic and the media started talking about these issues, I was pleading with the government to make changes in the school system and education.
“A lot of people don’t even know how their mind works and they should be taught that at school.
“If you don’t want to change to it, add the things that are needed. The life skills, the financial literacy and emotional intelligence; the things that help young people and prepare them for the outside world. You’ll then have a better society.
“The government could do a lot more, and so could communities and societies. If you want change then you do something different. If you don’t want change then you continue what you’ve always been doing to get the same results.
“The government knows it [knife crime] is going to get worse. The prison system is overpacked and they are handing out stupid fines to people nowadays who aren’t even criminals!”
On his son’s legacy, Prince added: “If he created that reputation at 15, the way people were talking about him, then imagine another 15 years of growth and maturity?
“Everyone knew when they saw him, ‘wow this guy is going to the top’. What made Kiyan special was his character. People go on about talent and how people perform whether it’s in sport or business.
“People buy into people and that’s where Kiyan had it in bundles – he was just a great character.
He had such thoughtfulness for others in a way where he would put himself out of his way, and that inevitably lost him his life.
“What better way to end your life being you, and doing you; caring about somebody else?
“He said, ‘don’t fight guys; this is not how we’re supposed to live, so let’s break it up’, and unfortunately somebody was crazy enough to stab him for that. That’s really painful to deal with.
QPR’s ground was renamed the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium at the start of last season
“Kiyan’s given me a lot to work with and I thank God for that.”
Prince has engaged with thousands of young people since the KPF’s inception in 2007, and he doesn’t intend on stopping anytime soon.
“I don’t know if I sit still for long enough to be happy and proud of my achievements,” he admitted.
“There’s too many young people with problems and families reaching out to me for help and support. I just try and be present and help people in need.
“I just thank God as I was that close to doing what every person would want to do if their child got murdered.
“I’m not in that place now. I made a different route for myself and a better way to live my life.
“It’s done wonders for my son’s name. Kiyan’s given me a lot to work with and I thank God for that. I’m so driven to accomplish more things.”
Kiyan will be looking down very proud of everything his father has achieved having lived through every parents worst nightmare. He is a true hero in society.
You can donate to Kiyan Prince Foundation by clicking here.
Alternatively, simply text KPF£5 to 70490 to donate £5! If you would like to donate more, simply change the value of your donation #Kiyan30