Happy 29th Birthday Josh
I would have been celebrating Josh’s 29th birthday with him today if his life had not been taken from him in an unprovoked, brutal, and violent knife attack. I would have been looking forward to ordering his birthday cake (Oreo was his favourite) and booking our usual table at our favourite curry restaurant. This is what I did for his 21st birthday, which unbeknown to us would be the last time we got to celebrate his birthday together.
Eight birthdays on and I can only dream about what life might have looked like for him now. Judging by his sister Brooke, cousins, and friends, he like them may have been in long-term relationships engaged or even married. He may have had a child or children along with an extended family. He may have been promoted at work, bought his own home (as he had planned to) or had saved up enough to travel (which he also planned to do) and like some he may have done all the above.
Devastatingly Josh’s dreams for the future were taken away from him by a violent stranger who stole his life from him. This man was known to the police with a string of offences and who Josh had never met before. His premeditated choice of violence took Josh’s life away in less than 10 seconds, he was in control of Josh’s future, and he took it away from him along with all of the hopes and dreams that everyone had for him too.
Despite the raw aching pain of living without Josh which at worst renders me speechless and immobile, I continue to shine a light on him through the work we do at the Josh Hanson Trust. In his memory we deliver crime prevention and intervention programmes in primary and secondary schools where the focus is to educate and empower children and young people to stay safe and away from crime. We deliver victim care training programmes to new recruits and serving police officers, and to Criminology and Victimology degree students. By sharing my story, we help to ensure that victims are listened to, treated with respect, empowered, and educated about their rights when reporting a crime.
We deliver therapeutic art interventions to children, young people and adults who have been a victim of crime and who are living with trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and complicated grief. We provide victim care support to bereaved families while advocating for them as they navigate the criminal justice system. We work with partners to help promote and build a safer society by highlighting the impact of crime and the importance of protecting victims, and we are key stake holders in the development of victim care services at the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.
There is a huge amount of work being undertaken to help prevent crime and support victims of crime in memory of Josh and every time I introduce him to my audiences and they see his open smile and hear his infectious laugh I know that he leaves them with purpose.
Josh’s light continues to shine and save lives and I couldn’t be prouder of him as he watches over me. Happy birthday Josh, love, and hugs Mum 💙🙏🏻#changemaker #birthdaywishes #29today #bereavedmum