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QPR double winners at London Football Awards

QPR won two categories at the prestigious London Football Awards on Thursday evening.

Our #LongLiveThePrince campaign was voted Community Project of the Year, beating nominations from Arsenal Foundation and Chelsea Foundation.

On the pitch, Andre Gray won the Goal of the Season gong for his sensational strike against Derby County in November.

Our #LongLiveThePrince campaign was created in partnership with Engine to bring Kiyan Prince back to life as the professional footballer he should have been.

Kiyan, a promising QPR academy player, was fatally stabbed in 2006 when he was just 15.

The campaign saw him handed the No.30 squad number this season – representing the age he would have been – and he was brought back to life within the FIFA21 video game as the club’s leading striker.

It started conversations amongst a key demographic – who is Kiyan Prince?

His presence on the platform gave young gamers and football fans the opportunity to learn about Kiyan’s story as well as The Kiyan Prince Foundation, which is an organisation set up by Kiyan’s father Mark Prince to tackle knife and gun crime on London’s streets. 

Anti-knife crime campaigns have long been associated with grim imagery and heartbreak. This campaign was different.

Endorsed by Raheem Sterling, who was in the QPR academy at the same time as Kiyan, this campaign didn’t focus on the tragedy of a death - but on what could have been a life of triumph and achievements, using the hashtag #LongLiveThePrince.

Andy Evans, CEO of QPR Trust, said: “We were approached by Engine and loved the ingenuity of the campaign. The key to the success of the project was that it reached such an important demographic in such a clever way.

“Tackling knife crime is sadly an ongoing challenge, but this did that from a completely different angle by highlighting what Kiyan’s life could – and should – have looked like.

“His dad Mark continues to work tirelessly in this area through the Kiyan Prince Foundation and we shouldn’t forget that whenever he does this, he is reliving his personal nightmare over and over again – but he is willing to do that in order to tackle knife crime.”

Gray’s award was received for his incredible match-winning moment at Pride Park.

With the game level at 1-1, the Watford loanee came off the bench to seal victory for QPR with a 90th-minute volley. 

“I took a first touch, took a second and then just hit it,” Gray said when describing the goal. “I am probably at my best when I am not thinking about what I’m doing – it’s instinctive, and luckily it went in the top corner.

“As a striker, to be involved in moments like that and score a last-minute winner is what you work hard to do.”

Independently judged by leaders from football administration and the football media, the London Football Awards celebrate the very best of London football. 

All income raised from the London Football Awards on the night goes to Willow, the only national charity that helps provide Special Days for seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 years old when they are needed most.

Willow was founded by former Arsenal goalkeeper and TV presenter Bob Wilson OBE and his wife, Megs, as a lasting memorial to their daughter Anna, who died of cancer aged 31. Since 1999 the charity has fulfilled more than 17,000 Special Days for young adults living with life-threatening conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy.

Tackling knife crime is sadly an ongoing challenge.

Andy Evans