On Friday the body of Pat Regan, who was killed earlier this month, will be laid to rest. Two Birmingham pastors tell Jo Ind how her work of bringing peace amidst the violence of the streets goes on.
When Pat Regan was last in Birmingham she said she would be coming back.
The 53-year-old mother from Leeds, whose son Danny was murdered six years ago, wanted to return to the city to hear how church and community leaders were responding to the crisis of gun and knife crime.
She was speaking at a conference organised by the Revs Robin Thompson and Carver Anderson of the Birmingham-based charity Bringing Hope last month.
It was a conference that brought together mothers whose sons had been killed, those who had committed crime, including one who had committed murder, and church and community leaders from all over the country.
At the end of the conference Pat, who was visibly moved by what had taken place, hugged Robin and Carver and challenged them to bring the people together again in six months time so they could chart what progress had been made in transforming the communities challenged by violence and anti-social behaviour.
Now there is no chance of Pat's return. In a supreme irony, the woman who dedicated the latter part of her life to campaigning for peace was brutally killed on Sunday 1 June.
Her 20-year-old grandson Rakeim Regan has been remanded in custody accused of her murder.
But Robin and Carver, though shaken by her death, are already seeing how her work of transforming those affected by violence is carrying on.
"She's left a lot of us mourning but a huge legacy will come from her life. Things are already happening and they will carry on," says Carver. "She's a catalyst for reformation and change."
Robin and Carver met Pat two years ago at aHome Office consultation which was looking for solutions to the problems of gangs and gun crime.Pat was there as a founder member as a member of Mothers Against Violence. She founded the Leeds branch after her son was shot on the doorstep in what is believed to have been a drugs-related murder.
Robin and Carver were there as founders of Bringing Hope, a charity set up three years ago to offer the churches response to guns, drugs, knives and gangs.
"She was very genuine, dedicated to her work," says Robin. "She didn't try to pretty things up, whether she was talking to the Prime Minister or a mother in pain. She was a thoroughly loving mum."
"She was a very real person who did not get intimidated," says Carver. "When she went into schools talking to young people, she had a powerful effect because she understood. She was prepared to work with the kids.
"She would ask questions that would get right to the heart of the issues. She knew her terrain and she would come up with solutions.
"She would be the first in a meeting, to ask: 'What does that mean? That's gone straight over my head. Could you translate that into terms that mean something to me? Could you bring that back into my situation please?'"
Last month Robin and Carver hosted a meeting in Birmingham which drew together community leaders, including Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, those who had committed violence and those who had suffered from it.
Gee Walker, from Liverpool, was a speaker. Her son, Anthony, was found dead with an axe in his head three years ago. Pasty McKie, whose son Dorrie was shot dead nine years ago and a founder members of Mothers Against Violence in Manchester, was also there.
After the conference those whose loved ones had been killed gathered around a table with Robin and Carver.
Pat had never met Gee before. They embraced each other and tears were shed. They all held hands around the table and prayed.
"It was a very emotional part of the day. Words can't express it," says Robin. "It was very, very wonderful. Out of their grief had come hope. Instead of being mothers of death, they were mothers of life."
What had emerged from the conference, as mothers of murdered sons sat and ate lunch with a man who had committed murder, was the necessity for forgiveness.
Gee had already touched the heart of the nation two-and-a-half-years ago when she stood on the steps of Liverpool Crown Court after the trial of her son's murderers and said: "I have got to forgive them. I still forgive them."
Pat had said she could not honestly say she had forgiven her son's killer because she still did not know who he was. But as they all sat round the table, their tears and their prayers helped them to move on.
"The forgiveness was magnetic," says Robin. "They were passing it on. They were going back into their respective circumstances and they were going back refreshed."
Robin and Carver say forgiveness is an essential component in tackling street violence because much gun and knife crime is an act of revenge.
"We are very aware of the hurt, anger, affiliations and loyalties of those who use violence as a form of revenge," says Carver. "We take that and try to use an approach which minimises and challenges the revenge process.
"Without forgiveness you are left with hate, anger and fear - those are the things that will devastate communities.
"Forgiveness stops the cycle of reprisals. Forgiveness saves lives."
That is where Robin and Carver believe the church has such an important role to play in transforming communities.
The Government can bring out its latest initiative - most recently to have a policy of prosecuting anyone found so much as carrying a knife - but it can not change people's hearts and without a change in people's hearts the violence will carry on.
It is that change of heart which is what Bringing Hope is all about. It is that change of heart for which Pat worked tirelessly since the murder of her son.
When Pat left the conference she issued Robin and Carver with a challenge.
"I've never met men like you before," she said. "Put your action where your words are. Show me. These words were very wonderful - but will these guys take them forward?"
They agreed to have another meeting in six months time. Pat returned to Leeds and carried on her peace work.
Less than four weeks later, she was at a church meeting on the Saturday night.
She prayed out loud. She was anointed with oil. She anointed her friend with oil. They took out a knife and prayed with it in a symbolic way. The next day Pat was dead.
"There are certain things that only God understands," says Carver, who has since visited her church with Robin to offer support.
"One thing is certain - she's in a better place. She perhaps knew something was going on. That prayer meeting was so symbolic. What I do know is that people's lives were changed through her life and they are changed in her death.
''She epitomised transformation and we have seen with our eyes that that transforming work in carrying on"