A BRAVE youth worker is fighting for his life after being stabbed when apparently protecting a group of youngsters from an armed gang.

Police were called to The Albany Theatre in Douglas Way, Deptford at around 6.45pm on Wednesday after reports a large group of youths had caused a disturbance.

When officers arrived the group had dispersed, but at 9.15pm they were called to the area again and found 41-year-old Simon Somerville and a 16-year-old boy suffering from stab wounds.

Mr Somerville, who lives in Walthamstow was stabbed several times and his condition is currently described as life-threatening.

Meanwhile the teenager, who was stabbed in the lower body, has been released from hospital.

News Shopper spoke to Mr Somerville's brother-in-law Eddie Hypolite, 40, who said: "The two of us had been helping run a three-day youth programme at the theatre and Wednesday was the final day.

"Before the seminar, which looks at the negative side of street and gang culture, there was trouble outside the theatre. A group of youngsters were firing fireworks at people.

News Shopper: The street has been sealed off by police

"After the seminar had finished they were out there again. Simon was helping the kids from his youth group back to the van when they were attacked by the group.

"Simon put himself between his youths and the gang to defuse the situation even though they were armed with knives. They completely brutalised him."

Mr Hypolite, who is a pastor for the Seventh Day Adventist Church group added: "On the night of the attack the doctors said there was a not a lot of hope for him, but now they say there has been a remarkable improvement.

"We all believe in him and we are praying for him. He is strong and keeps himself in good condition."

News Shopper: Simon Somerville's brother-in-law Pastor Eddie Hypolite (right)

A nearby resident, who lives in a flat overlooking Douglas Way, said: "There were 15 or 20 youngsters and I could hear lots of screaming and shouting.

"Then a little black boy ran down the street shouting 'I've duked him, I've duked him.'

"Just before lots of them had been letting off fireworks and shouting.”

A 16-year old boy has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and is in custody at a south London police station.

Anyone with information should call Lewisham police on 0300 123 1212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.