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‘Our hearts are broken’: Christian family mourns schoolgirl stabbed to death in Croydon

by Will Hobbs
Elianne Adnam thumb.png - Banner image
Metropolitan Police

The Christian family of Eliyanna Adnam have described her as "bright and funny, with many friends who all adored her".

The 15-year-old was fatally stabbed in Croydon while on her way to school. A 17-year-old boy is in custody.

The year 11 pupil at Old Palace of John Whitgift school, in Croydon had just got off a double-decker bus with a group of friends when she was attacked. The bus driver and other passers-by attempted to save her.

In a statement, her family described Eliyanna as a girl who "had her whole life ahead of her, with hopes and dreams for the future”.

"All those dreams have now been shattered. Our lives have fallen apart, along with that of our wider family," they continued.

She has also been described by her school as a “much-loved” pupil who had a bright future.

Jerome Hughes, a head of youth work at anti-youth crime charity XLP, has urged churches to "get outside" as he believes places of worship can go a long way to providing the love and support young people in the area are craving.

"I think sometimes we believe that it's that charities responsibility and it's their problem, but I think is a community issue," Hughes told Premier.

"And I think the church really needs to get outside in a lot of ways. Kids just want to be loved. These young people just want to be supported and known that they're cared for, and these charities and organisations can't do it all."

XLP works in nine inner-city boroughs around London and the City of London, working with 4,000 young people each year through education, mentoring, employability, community youth work, sports and the arts.

Hughes, who has personal links to Croydon, says the security most churches have as permanently based organisations gives them a huge opportunity to impact young people in their communities.

"I think majorly the church could do more. There are organisations that are out there with different services that are there to support young people. But the difference with the church is they don't move; they're unmovable…And I think that is what young people are crying out for the community. The crying out of a group of people that they can also surround and be around that really pour into them and love them, and really get alongside them in a lot of ways."

Hughes told Premier that young people are often "struggling with identity", whilst growing up in a society in which they have to choose between being "the perpetrator or the victim".

For him, the current resources that exist to help young people in tough circumstances simply are not enough.

"I feel like the social services, the local authorities, or charities are just inundated with young people. There are hundreds of thousands of young people in London alone, and it feels heavy. It feels like we carry the weight of that kind of feeling of having an impact and journey with young people in being in their lives."

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