Former gang member teaches first aid to youngsters in Wapping

PUBLISHED: 14:10 04 March 2013 | UPDATED: 14:33 04 March 2013

Former gang member Fola Odebunmi teaches first aid skills to youngsters at St Paul's Primary School in Wapping.

Former gang member Fola Odebunmi teaches first aid skills to youngsters at St Paul's Primary School in Wapping.

St John Ambulance - submitted

A former gang member has joined forces with the parents of two murdered teenagers to teach youngsters about the horrors of violent crime while showing them life-saving first aid skills.

Former street thug Fola Odebunmi, who used to arm himself with a samurai sword or baseball bat but has since turned his life around, has been working with pupils at St Paul’s Primary School in Wapping.

The 10 and 11-year-olds were taught basic first aid skills needed to deal with a medical emergency after hearing harrowing accounts from bereaved parents about how senseless street violence destroys lives.

The initiative, which is set to visit other schools across London, is being run by the St John Ambulance, as part of the charity’s Respect, Inspire, Support, and Empower (RISE) project, which works with deprived young people.

It has the backing of Margaret and Barry Mizen, whose son Jimmy was murdered a day after his 16th birthday in Lee Green in 2008, and Grace Idowu whose 14-year-old son David died after being stabbed in Southwark in 2008.

Margaret, Barry, and Grace are taking it in turns to visit schools to talk about the suffering caused by youth violence, while Fola – now a RISE youth development officer - urges the children to shun violence in favour of learning valuable life skills.

Pupils at the school in Wellclose Square learned how to put an unconscious person in the recovery position and the best way to treat severe bleeding in a series of hands-on training sessions.

St John Ambulance’s social inclusion manager, Ruth Jalloh, said: “Our message at St John Ambulance is that everyone can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

“By reaching these children at such a young age we hope to prevent them from becoming involved in violent crime.

“And by teaching them first aid skills, we’re giving them the ability and confidence to save a life when faced with a serious emergency.”

Latest East London News Stories


A traditional rural theatre of ancient Bengal that uses hunting for story-telling through folk opera and dance in a theatrical setting comes to Bethnal Green tomorrow.

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.


Former arm-wrestling champ and Whitechapel stallholder Les Clayden is going back to his cockney ‘daisy roots’ to talk about ‘Swimming with Stingrays’.

Since the government’s austerity programme started in 2010, the council’s core funding from government has been cut in real terms by 64 per cent, which equates to £148m.

Yesterday, 18:21

Police have found the body of a missing student with links to east London.

Yesterday, 16:14

The mayor of Tower Hamlets has voluntarily had a blood test for Aids in a council campaign for public awareness for people to take part in HIV Testing Week starting tomorrow.

Yesterday, 13:48

Campaigners have called for support ahead of a national unity demonstration against racism and fascism.

Yesterday, 11:45

Police are appealing for help in finding a vulnerable man who has been missing for more than a week.


Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now