Friends and family of Paul Douglass took to the streets to remember him and to denounce Scotland’s knife culture.
Paul, known to friends as PJ, was aged just 20 when he was stabbed outside a house party in the Greenhills area of East Kilbride last month.
Yesterday, supporters turned out in force to pay tribute to Paul, a talented chef who had hoped to join the Army before his life was cut short.
It is understood he was knifed in the chest during a fight with at least one other man. Police are treating his death as murder and their investigations are continuing. Another man, aged 32, was also treated in hospital following the incident.
Special T-shirts were worn and placards carried bearing slogans “Bin The Knife” and “Choose Life Not A Knife” as around 300 marchers set off not far from where Paul was murdered.
Leading the crowd from the front was Paul’s mother Maureen, 52, and close friend Maxine Williamson, 21, who had organised the event.
The event was also backed by local politicians, including Linda Fabiani MSP.
Mrs Douglass said: “To see the number of people who have turned out for Paul and our family is amazing. It just shows the type of character he was and that he was very loved by everyone he knew.
“I really hope we can achieve something through this. Someone, somewhere has to look at this peaceful march in memory of my son and realise knife crime has to stop.”
Ms Williamson said: “It is still very raw for Paul’s friends and family, who have not been able to hold a funeral yet and grieve for their son.
“This was important to bring people together to remember Paul. It started out with just a few people and we have had hundreds of people turning out, which is just amazing.”
A poignant moment on the march saw protesters pass a lone piper who was playing on a footbridge.
“As the marchers passed they slowed underneath the bridge before a round of applause broke out.
Ms Williamson hopes the march will now be a catalyst for change. She added: “We want to see something change for those people who have been affected by knife crime -- and not just Paul’s family -- whether it be harsher punishments for offenders.
“We have been in talks with our local politicians and will push for a meeting with Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to highlight the issues.”
She went on to describe Paul as the “nicest guy in the world,” saying: “He never did anyone any harm and was full of life and dreams. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time -- it could have happened to anyone.”
Ms Fabiani, the nationalist MSP for East Kilbride, said: “People have got to the stage where they don’t want this type of thing in the their town or community.
“It is important that we build on this and I am already in talks with the Justice Secretary regarding meeting representatives to discuss policies and what interventions are in place.”
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said he would be happy to meet with organisers of yesterday’s event if a request is made.
He said: “Even one life lost to knife crime is one too many, and I offer my sincere sympathy to those who have lost loved ones to this horrific crime.
“I am absolutely clear that we all need to continue working together in a united way -- Government, police, community organisations and everyone else -- to tackle Scotland’s blade culture wherever and whenever it occurs.”