Amani Simpson was set upon by a 20-strong gang and stabbed seven times after intervening in a friend’s row over stolen goods.

He had wounds to the head, arms and legs and believes his thick Puffa jacket, which was “ripped to shreds”, saved his life.

He says: “I probably got stabbed and slashed 20 to 30 times, but only seven got through.”

Amani was 21 when he was attacked in Enfield, North London, in 2011.

Now 29, he says the incident was a “big blessing in disguise” which made him turn his life around.

Amani has opened up about his experiences after the Daily Mirror revealed the true scale of Britain's knife crime epidemic.

Our research, published last week, showed that three in four people are concerned for the safety of their family because of the massive rise in knife crime.

One in 17 said they have been the victim of an offence involving a blade. And one in 12 have witnessed such a crime.

Our survey of adults also shows that one in six knows someone who is a knife crime victim.

Amani has experienced its damaging effects first-hand.

After being a troubled teenager who was kicked out of school, arguing with his parents and making “a series of negative choices”, he launched his own company Aviard.

It offers programmes to schools, prisons and pupil referral units to empower kids to make better choices.

He has even produced a film about his attack to promote his message.

Backing the Mirror’s End the Knife Epidemic campaign, Amani says: “I believe it’s my responsibility to help steer teenagers away from the choices that led me down a road filled with so much darkness.

“We really need to accept that these people who are dying are children a lot of the time.”

He is calling for a holistic approach to stop the cycle happening again and again.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also supported the campaign, saying: “The Government must urgently reverse their cuts to policing and preventative services if we are to truly end violent crime, and I fully support the Mirror’s campaign to tackle this crucial issue.”

Mirror's demands

1 We need more beat officers with extra powers after Tories cut 10,000 police.

2 Reverse the cuts to youth services. Scotland halted the increase in knife crime by giving young people help with education, training and housing.

3 Every secondary must teach kids the dangers of carrying weapons.

4 Tackle the underlying problems. Children excluded from school are twice as likely to carry a knife. Pupil Referral Units have become “finishing schools” for gangs.

5 Appoint knife crime tsar to coordinate response to crisis.

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