POSTCODE rivalries were put to the side at a youth football tournament played in Wood Green in honour of murdered teenager Godwin Lawson.
Organised by youth-led movement Haringey Young People Empowered (HYPE), the competition brought together young men from different parts of the borough in a full day of peace and unity last Saturday.
Football prodigy Godwin, 17, of Enfield, stabbed to death in Stamford Hill in March, had captained a team made up of strangers to victory at Hype's inaugural tournament held at the fields opposite White Hart Lane Community Sports Centre.
Godwin had left London to pursue his passion for the beautiful game at Oxford United, but a return visit to London proved fatal. His parents, Yvonne and Calvin Lawson, have since set up a foundation to fund activities that will help lead young people away from violence and the football tournament was one of the first events they sponsored.
Many of the teams named their teams in honour of their friend, and wore t-shirts carrying the message "Dont's 4get the 24" — Godwin's shirt number.
His mother said: “Being here is obviously a mix of emotions. My son is no longer here which is heart-breaking for me, but his legacy is and that is something.
“I am honoured his friends who loved him want to remember him, and we are happy to sponsor his event to send the message that violence on the streets must stop.”
The tournament started with fourteen teams made up of friends, such as the Woodside Ballers and Bounds Green Bangers, but after the first round only the top four are allowed to stay as a team.
In order to re-enter the competition, the knocked-out players must form new Hype teams made up of other young men — many of whom they are meeting for the first time.
This year team Brace, from the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, beat one of the Hype teams in the final to sail to victory.
Youth volunteer Symeon Brown is one of four inspirational young people that have put their hearts and souls into making HYPE — which he dubbed a “good gang” — a success.
The Economics graduate said: “Do we think this tournament will really solve postcode wars and street violence? No. On its own it is not enough, but it is a positive step in the right direction.
"It is a means to improve communication between young people who separate themselves according to the area they live in. In London, there is a culture where we are not so friendly, we are not so open with strangers, and sometimes it is simply just a fear of being able to socialise, that acts as a catalyst for an outbreak in violence."
Tottenham MP David Lammy and 100 Black Men of London also lent their support to the event.