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Saturday, 7 April, 2001, 18:59 GMT 19:59 UK
Hundreds march for Damilola
Marchers for Damilola
Local churches organised the march for Damilola Taylor
More than 500 people have taken part in a march on Saturday in memory of schoolboy Damilola Taylor.

Several churches in the south London area organised the march, which also included an appeal for information about Damilola's killers.

Damilola bled to death in a stairwell on the North Peckham Estate, after being stabbed in the leg on his way home from an after-school club on 27 November.

Saturday's march went from the Mountains of Fire and Miracles Ministries in the Old Kent Road to Peckham Square, the last place Damilola was seen alive.

Walking together

Assistant senior pastor Nehemiah Onyedikachi said: "We just want to make our own appeal from a Christian point of view, we want to pray and deliver leaflets throughout the community.

Harriet Harman
Among the marchers was local MP Harriet Harman
"The aim is to pray and then appeal to the consciences of people to co-operate with the police. We are walking together to create awareness."

The Christian Police Association, the Everlasting Alms Ministries, the Diocese of Southwark and Southwark for Jesus also joined the march.

The leaflets distributed in the community contained a picture of Damilola on the front and on the back, a drawing of Damilola as the biblical figure of David standing opposite Goliath.

'Important message'

Inspector Bob Pull, leader of the Christian Police Association for London, said: "We felt it was important to make a Christian tribute and give out a message to the community of Peckham."

Damilola's parents, Gloria and Richard, did not attend the march, but on Friday Mrs Taylor gave an interview to the BBC urging politicians not to use his death as a political football in the run up to the general election.

She said the issue of moral renewal in Britain, raised by her husband shortly after their son's death, was an issue for everybody.

Mrs Taylor said: "I believe as a mother that tackling this problem is for all the parties not any particular government.

"I think they should set down together and look at ways to bring this about."

Gloria Taylor
Gloria Taylor: urges parties to work together for moral renewal

Shortly after Damilola's death, Tory leader William Hague suggested there would be further similar incidents if Labour were re-elected to power because of a diminution in police numbers.

He criticised the "condescending liberal elite" and said the Macpherson report into the racist murder of Londoner Stephen Lawrence had seriously undermined police morale.

Home Secretary Jack Straw accused the Tory leader of "playing the race card".

Mrs Taylor also said she was confident that her son's killers could still be found, though no prosecutions have been made.

She spoke of the emotional struggle the family have experienced since his death.

"I know the police are working day in, day out. I pray that God will see them through.

"Day in day out since the incident, I think about what happened, what went wrong. Why should children have these thoughts in her mind?"

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