Father and son to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in bid to reduce knife crime epidemic in Sheffield

When it comes to solving the growing knife crime epidemic in Sheffield, you wouldn’t have necessarily put climbing Mount Kilimanjaro at the top of the list.

Andy and Joshua Tiplady.
Andy and Joshua Tiplady.

But for former teacher Andy Tiplady and his 10-year-old son Joshua that is exactly the plan.

Andy said he taught stabbing victim Kavan Brissett during his time as a PE teacher at Bradfield School.

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Andy Tiplady, pictured with Kavan Brissett, aged 16.

Kavan, aged 21, was stabbed in the chest in an alleyway in Upperthorpe in August and died in hospital four days later.

Andy said: “Kavan walked into my lesson in Year 7 – so 11 years old – and, to be honest, he was off the radar screen. He had lost it.

“I just had this feeling to take him under my wing and look after him a bit. I just saw the goodness in him.”

Aspiring boxer Kavan was training at Ryan Rhodes’ boxing and fitness gym in Shalemoor at the time of his death.

Andy Tiplady, pictured with Kavan Brissett at the leavers' prom in 2013.

Andy added: “He was a brilliant sportsman and he had huge potentital. Ryan and I spoke about it and said that he could have been a champion – he was really good.

“He was your typical young lad – mischievous but a nice lad.”

Now, driven by a determination to reduce knife crime across Sheffield, Andy and Joshua, will take on the climb next year.

Andy and Joshua Tiplady training for their trek.

The duo hope to raise £30,000 to invest into youth club services and anti-knife crime groups.

Andy, of Oughtibridge, said: “My wife and I had been talking about doing something for a while.

“A lot of young people don't have any hope, they don’t have any aspirations and they don’t have a dream. They get a mundane job and are stuck in it for 30 or 40 years.

“My son Joshua said: Why don’t we do Mount Kiliamanjaro?’. We love the outdoors and and I run a small bushcraft skills company and we just thought: ‘Why not?’”

Kavan was one of eight fatal stabbings on the streets of Sheffield in 2018 and on Tuesday, a 15-year-old was taken to hospital after being stabbed in Gleadless Valley.

Last week, a man was also stabbed in the face and arm in Pitsmoor.

Andy said: “What we want to do is raise money to sew into people that are already doing work and so we can get these kids off the streets.

“We want to give these kids an aspiration to be able to dream a dream and then act on that dream.

“I have worked with kids for going on 30 years and it’s turned my thoughts about education on their head. Education won’t fix it, the police won’t fix it – it’s up to the community to take collective responsibility for this.”

The father and son duo have been training for the hike since the new year and will head to the Lake District at Easter before taking on Mount Ida in Crete in May.

They aim to hike the equivalent height of Mount Everest as part of their training and have so far clocked up 8,500 feet towards their 29,030ft goal.

Andy said: “As we keep saying we want the knives burying, rather than burying lives. Kids are frightened to walk the streets whereas what we would have done as kids is settle it with fists.

“Stabbings are almost on a daily basis and one of the driving factors for me is Kavan was not just a statistic – it made it real. His family are so grief-stricken and it gave me a kick up the proverbial backside.”

For more information on Andy and Joshua’s challenge or to donate visit https://www.gofundme.com/sheffield-bury-the-knives-not-lives