On the morning after his sixteenth birthday, Jimmy Mizen went out to buy his first lottery ticket. A few minutes later, he was dead – fatally wounded in an unprovoked attack in the local bakery. As calls for retribution began, his parents appealed for calm. Barry and Margaret Mizen chose to respond to Jimmy's death by rejecting violence and revenge. Instead, they now dedicate their lives to helping young people find a better way, through the Jimmy Mizen Foundation. Our own Justin Butcher – actor, writer and choir master at St Luke’s – got to know Jimmy’s parents through his involvement with the Papal visit, and has now co-authored a book with Margaret to bring their story to a wider audience. Jimmy: A Legacy of Peace is story of heartbreak, hope, forgiveness and courage, and has been endorsed by (amongst others) the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster and Kate McCann (mother of missing Madeleine).
“We need to understand [our young people] in order to find out why those who hurt others do what they do,” said Barry in a recent interview with the Guardian. “We don't need any more laws. We have the power to build the sort of communities we want to live in. It's down to us. We shouldn't need to wait for the police or politicians.”
Justin adds: “Through spending time with Margaret and Barry Mizen, and writing this book, I feel I have grown to know Jimmy, and to share in mourning his loss and celebrating his life. I’m grateful to his family for allowing me to become a part of their story.”
Jimmy: A Legacy of Peace by Margaret Mizen with Justin Butcher (£8.99, Lion Books) is available from all good bookshops, and from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jimmy-A-Legacy-Of-Peace/dp/0745955797