A GRANDFATHER who helped Scotland tackle its knife crime epidemic after his son was stabbed to death in Greenock has stepped down after more than a decade of heroic campaigning.

John Muir was moved to tackle the scourge head on after his son Damian was killed in an appalling unprovoked attack in Inverkip Street in 2007.

He was incensed by the tragedy of losing his son at the hands of a thug who had been on bail at the time, having been charged with no fewer than three separate assaults.

John took his fight all the way to Holyrood in a bid to get the law changed and worked closely with the police, schools and the national Violence Reduction Unit in a bid to make the streets safer.

The Inverkip man also worked hand in hand with the Telegraph on its award-winning Stop Knives Save Lives Campaign which collected over 15,000 signatures calling for a courts crackdown.

In 2015 he was made an MBE in recognition of his crucial role in tackling blade culture.

John, who is now 80, is winding up the Inverclyde Anti-Knife Group after all the success it has achieved over the years.

He said: "I have been lucky to have had an opportunity to try to make things better.

"We tried things that worked and other things that didn't work so well.

"I do think I gave the suffering caused by knife crime a human face, but a lot of families have suffered in Inverclyde.

"There's been a lot of horror - people who have lost their husbands, brothers, sons, family members."

Mr Muir praised local police and council bosses for working alongside him to try and educate the next generation about the consequences of knife crime.

His lobbying of the Scottish Government with the Telegraph was key in the launch of a £500,000 national scheme which was brought to Inverclyde first as a pilot then rolled out across the country.

He was also instrumental in establishing the Inverclyde Initiative, which saw youngsters taken off the streets and steered away from trouble by being directed towards youth clubs and other activities.

When John was awarded the MBE he graciously dedicated it to the memory of knife crime victims and their families.

He said: "I think I was more surprised than anyone else.

"It was never an intention to be about me, it was about what we we trying to do."

The anti-knife group John formed brought like-minded people together and organised marches while he spoke powerfully at the Tele's anti-knife crime conference in Greenock, an event attended by over 500 people.

Speakers at the event included medics who told of the human and financial cost of knife carnage on our streets.

John said: "That night was a great success at raising awareness of the problem.

"Another big thing which helped a great deal was Karen McCluskey of the Violence Reduction Unit along with Dr Christine Goodall.

"They told us how it cost £4,000 to sew people up after they had been attacked - £4,000 to keep someone alive because of a knife."

Now, having made such an influential impact on tackling knife crime locally and nationally through years of hard work, John has decided it is time to take step back.

The pressure group is being wound up and its remaining funds - gathered to help take members to meetings and conferences - has been handed over to a local sporting organisation.

John was delighted to present around £1,000 to Ardgowan Football Development, which is open to all primary school-aged children in the area and runs on Sundays.

From these funds a mobile defibrillator was purchased along with training kit and equipment.

Another part of the organisation is Ardgowan Thistle FC which fields teams in the Paisley & District League and one in the North Ayrshire League.

Graham Anderson, club treasurer, said: "This is an absolutely superb donation for us.

"The mobile defibrillator is a great idea.

"It's a great addition to the club and is much appreciated by us."


Pictured are John, centre, Iain Buchan Ardgowan chairman, and Graham Anderson club treasurer.