Soccer star David Beckham has called for an end to Britain's spiralling knife crime epidemic, revealing his childhood friend was the victim of a brutal stabbing.
The Los Angeles Galaxy player was just 13 when a fellow soccer player was knifed as he tried to break up a street fight.
The unnamed teen's promising sports career was wrecked by the attack, which left him paralysed.
Now Beckham is backing a U.K. government campaign to end the scourge of violent knife crime, which has seen 23 teenagers stabbed to death in Britain so far this year (08).
Beckham says, "I was just 13 when one of my best friend's brothers was about to sign a contract with (London football team) Leyton Orient.
"But one day he was walking the streets, saw a fight, went over to help, got stabbed in the back and was paralysed.
"No one wants to see the devastation I saw my friend and his family go through. We have to lend our support to this campaign. You don't expect situations that are happening whereby people go to school in the morning and then you never see them again because of incidents that have happened.
"We have got to help. We have got a voice that kids listen to so it is important we get involved in something like this."