Page last updated at 00:02 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

MBEs for crime charity founders

Lyn Costello (left) and Dee Edwards
Lyn Costello and Dee Edwards work with victims of violent crime

Two founders of a charity to support victims of violent crime have been recognised in the New Year Honours.

Lyn Costello and Dee Edwards set up campaign group Mothers Against Murder and Aggression (MAMAA) after the murder of toddler James Bulger.

They were made MBEs for their work offering support to those whose lives have been affected by violence.

Mrs Costello, 55, of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, said the award was "bitter sweet because of what we do".

The two friends said they were so shocked by the abduction and murder of toddler James in Merseyside in 1993 that they decided to take action themselves.

In the past 15 years, the campaigners have helped more than 600 families affected by violent crime.

The things we have learned over the years, we have got a pot of knowledge and hopefully we can share that and make a difference
Lyn Costello

The charity runs a programme about weapons and victims which it takes into schools and young offender institutions.

Its members work with bodies that deal with violent crime, including the government, police, and the Home Office.

Volunteers also help victims understand the court process and police investigations and have even arranged home support.

Mrs Costello added: "We support the families whose children have been murdered. If those kids were still here we would not need to be doing what we are doing.

"In the last year we have seen what is happening to young people on the streets and it makes you think about them.

"It is really good for the charity to be recognised but I find it bitter sweet because of what we do."

The group was not funded for many years and raised money through local events but has since been awarded limited support from the Home Office until April.

Mrs Costello said the charity had faced a financial crisis.

She added: "Next year is an important year. We do not just want to be picking up the pieces all the time.

"The things we have learned over the years, we have got a pot of knowledge and hopefully we can share that and make a difference."

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