UK Volunteer Seriously Injured in Stabbing Outside London Youth Event
Police arrest suspect, who is later released ‘pending further inquiries’
 
BY RICHARD DE LISSER, South England Conference, with Adventist Review staff
 
Seventh-day Adventist Church volunteer was seriously injured October 28 when street toughs stabbed him nine times as he tried to prevent a street fight outside a church-sponsored youth event in southeast London. The volunteer, 41-year-old Simon Somerville, who was initially in critical condition, is now in “serious but stable” condition according to the Metropolitan Police.
 
STREET SCENE: Police tape hangs at the entrance to Douglas Way, in the southeast London district of Lewisham. Simon Somerville, 41, a Seventh-day Adventist and youth volunteer, was stabbed there, Oct. 28, following a church-sponsored youth event. [Photo: Dan Keel/News Shopper - newsshopper.co.uk]
Somerville was stabbed nine times at around 9:15 pm at the end of a three-day seminar designed to help young people deal with the negative aspects of youth and street culture and make positive decisions about their future.
 
The program, co-sponsored by the South England Conference (SEC) of Seventh–day Adventists and Jesus and Ministry (J.A.M) was attended by over 100 young people nightly at the Albany Theatre, Deptford in southeast London but was marred by violence on the final evening. A gang of approximately 30 local young people, intent on causing trouble, attacked Somerville, a youth worker who was attending with his group of young people.
 
Simon, while attempting to shield his young people from danger was stabbed over 9 times. Police said a second victim, a 16-year-old boy, suffered stab wounds to his lower body when he stepped in to help the man. The boy, whose name is not being disclosed, was treated and released.
 
 ‘SERIOUS BUT STABLE’ CONDITION: Simon Somerville, in a photo supplied by his family, is reported in “serious but stable” condition at a local hospital.  [Photo: Pastor Eddie Hypolite]
Simon is the brother-in -law of Pastor Eddie Hypolite, director of Teens Ministries at the SEC; Somerville’s sister, Yvonne, is Eddie's wife. Somerville is a family man, a husband, and a father of four. Pastor Hypolite told a London Evening Standard reporter that Simon, a former amateur boxing champion, was "a hero" who had stepped in to shield the children from a violent gang.
 
Metropolitan Police said a 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and was released pending further inquiries. Other suspects may yet be identified, and charges may be brought, a police spokesman told Adventist Review in a telephone interview.
 
Pastor Hypolite, as part of the South Engand Conference Youth Ministries team has been working hard over the last two years to empower communities to make positive choices, including the LIVE marches and festivals in London, Dorset, and Cornwall, as well as mentoring programs. His extended family, including Simon, has been a part of this initiative, church officials said.
 

 




 
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