TRUSTEES have confirmed a high profile knife crime charity set up following the murder of schoolboy Jay Whiston will close.

Caroline Shearer set up Only Cowards Carry after her 17-year-old son was stabbed to death in Colchester in 2012.

The charity, based in Jackson Road, Clacton, worked with Essex Police on a knife bin campaign, which has seen thousands of weapons taken off the streets.

Earlier this week, Mrs Shearer said she was heartbroken that the charity, based in Clacton, could shut.

“I am at my lowest ever since my Jay was murdered,” she said.

“Every day from the date of setting up Only Cowards Carry, I have worked and worked to try to save our youngsters from knives.

“But I want to take this chance to thank everyone that supported Only Cowards Carry and myself.”

A statement released by the board of trustees said: “Unfortunately, the trustees of Only Cowards Carry made the difficult decision to close the charity.

“This decision was made due to a lack of funding coming in. It is with great regret we have had to make this decision.

“The charity was set up in 2013 by Caroline Shearer following the murder of her son Jay Whiston who suffered fatal stab wounds.

“The charity has educated and supported communities in Essex against knife crime primarily delivering many training projects in schools along with the establishment of amnesty bins to allow for the disposal of weapons in an anonymous and safe and secure manner.

“We believe if through all the good work the charity has delivered even if one child has put down a knife and walked away from knife crime then we have achieved something truly great.

“Caroline should be recognised for her efforts pushing this agenda forward whilst dealing with the terrible grief she would have been suffering as a result of her loss.

“We are aware that Caroline will remain in the public eye continuing with her fight against knife crime and we wish her our best with this important cause.”

Roger Hirst, Essex’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said the work of the charity had a “huge impact” on thousands of young people across Essex.

He said: “Caroline Shearer is a truly remarkable woman who has had to deal with the most tragic circumstances a parent could ever face.

“I was proud to support her charity Only Cowards Carry and the fantastic work it did to help raise awareness of the devastating effects that carrying a knife could have.

“We are working closely with the trustees of the charity to ensure the valuable knife amnesty bins in place around the county remain.

“Thank you Caroline and we wish you all the very best for the future.”