'Never Forget You': Teen's song pays tribute to boys who died in Brentwood
- Credit: Jake Johnson
A Romford teenager has shot a music video in tribute to his two friends who were stabbed to death in Brentwood, an opportunity offered to him by a knife charity founder.
Levi Harriott, 16, was devastated by the death of his two friends Charlie Preston and Frankie Gater.
The two 16-year-olds died after Essex Police were called to a "disturbance" in Regency Court on October 24, prompting a vigil at Central Park in Harold Hill on October 29.
Levi performed a rap written in memory of his friends at the event, with Take a Knife Save a Life (TAKSAL) founder Stephen Gowers in the crowd.
Wanting to offer support to Levi, Stephen, 40, is helping him find an apprenticeship and pursue a career in music, which he currently studies at college.
Filming for around three hours on December 11 in Central Park where the vigil took place, Stephen secured help from videographer Carly Brown and photographer Jake Johnson to create the music video.
Levi's song – Never Forget You – took him around a week to write.
He said: "The first night I was up writing all night.
"Steve has been helping me a lot and it means a lot in a dark time to have someone believe in me."
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Levi, who went to school with Frankie, said he "didn't know what to think" and was "in shock" after hearing of the deaths.
The 16-year-old said the song aims to celebrate the lives of his two friends, sending the message "you never know when the last moment will be".
Touching lyrics in the song include: "I hope you like the flowers everybody left for you, I hope you know there's no way I am forgetting you."
In the music video, archive footage and film of the vigil features alongside the teenager's most recent shoot.
Stephen, who hopes he can use his experience to help others, said: "We shot in the place of the vigil as it's symbolic of what happened and it's a special place for the kids.
"It was brilliant seeing their little faces light up and it's great for us as a charity as we want to meet all the kids and do more stuff to work with young talent."
On preventing knife crime, Levi said there should be more activities available for people his age that they are interested in.
Stephen added that "broken families" and "poverty" can also play a role in knife crime.
In the future, Stephen hopes to open a headquarters between Harold Hill and Collier Row, complete with a boxing gym, music studio and games room - "somewhere where the young people can chill in safe environments".
He plans for the headquarters to be run by "people who have gone down the wrong path and now want to help others".
"We will offer career guidance and be there for them when they go the wrong way to put them on the right path," he said.
"Through the charity, we can help to make dreams a reality and we can guide kids through to apprenticeships.
"I hope it's easy for them to come to me so I can help them with a backup plan to the dreams they pursue."
Stephen said working with Levi has been "amazing": "I've made a little mate. I noticed he had talent and made promises that I managed to keep."
Videographer and photographer Carly, 30, said she has lost a couple of people to knife crime and she wanted to be able to help others in a "sad time".
She added: "It's good to give these kids some hope and by the time they left they had a smile across their faces and were really excited.
"They were some of the nicest and politest kids."
Carly said she looks forward to working together with TAKSAL and Levi in the future.
Reflecting on the video shoot, Levi said: "The day went really well and the music video looks crazy."