A charity set up in memory of a man fatally stabbed in Hemel Hempstead has joined forces with the producers of BBC One soap EastEnders to lend its support to a knife crime storyline.
Billy’s Wish was set up in 2012 following the tragic death of Billy Dove. His family, who live in Apsley, wanted to educate young people about the dangers of knife crime.
EastEnders is currently exploring the horrific effects of knife crime and the impact it can have.
For authenticity, the soap writers were helped by the show’s former star, Brooke Kinsella, whose brother Ben was stabbed to death in London in 2008.
The Kinsella Trust, which was set up following Ben’s death, has links to Billy’s Wish and one of the EastEnders producers asked if Billy’s Wish would like to get involved in a funeral scene, which was aired on July 6.
The soap’s characters Shakil and Keegan were attacked after Keegan stole a bike from a well-known gang.
He tries to smooth things over by giving it back, but he gets stabbed and dies from his injuries.
Katherine Harper, who works with Billy’s Wish, said: “I had a call from one of the producers asking if Billy’s Wish would like to get involved, and I wasn’t sure how it would go down with the family.
“Billy’s father Paul said he was happy for some of the family to be involved in one of the scenes so people could see the reality of the situation. We all knew it would be difficult.
“The EastEnders cast looked after the family very well and treated them with respect. They were introduced to some of the cast members and then taken to the location for filming.”