Sir David Amess death: Memorial service held in Southend

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After the church service, a horse-drawn carriage took Sir David's casket through the streets of Southend-on-Sea

Hundreds of people turned out to pay tribute to Sir David Amess MP as a memorial service was held in Southend.

Sir David, 69, was stabbed to death at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on 15 October.

The private service, attended by family, was held at St Mary's Church, Prittlewell, and afterwards his casket was taken through the streets.

In a statement read during the service, his family described him as a "wonderful and inspiring" man.

"We are enormously proud of him, our hearts are shattered, however there was still so much David wanted to do so this is not the end of Sir David Amess MP, it is the next chapter," his family said, in the statement which was read out by the former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe.

"Strong and courageous is an appropriate way to describe David. He was a patriot and a man of peace, so we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all because that is the only way forward.

"We must set aside hatred and work towards togetherness; whatever one's race, religious or political beliefs, we must be tolerant and try to understand."

Image source, Mike Liggins/BBC
Image caption,
The service at the Church of England parish church was led by the Reverend Paul Mackay and Monsignor Kevin William Hale

The married father of five's family added: "We are trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred. Nobody should die in that way, please let some good come from this tragedy.

"We are absolutely broken, but we will survive and carry on for the sake of a wonderful and inspiring man."

The service at the Church of England parish church, in Sir David's Southend West constituency, was led by the Reverend Paul Mackay and Monsignor Kevin William Hale.

Image caption,
Sir David Amess's family said they were "enormously proud" of him
Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The service was held for family and friends only
Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The casket was draped in the Union flag and carried to the horse-drawn carriage

After the hour-long service, the memorial procession left the church and Sir David's casket was taken on a horse-drawn hearse through Southend, where it paused for a few minutes outside the Civic Centre in Victoria Avenue before heading to Sir David's Iveagh Hall constituency office in Leigh Road.

Traffic was stopped and members of the public stopped to pay their respects.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Sir David's casket was taken on a horse-drawn hearse through Southend after the service
Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Members of the public lined the street near to Sir David's Iveagh Hall constituency office to pay their respects

Sir David had represented Southend West for the Conservatives since 1997, and before that he had been MP for Basildon since 1983.

Mark Francois, Conservative MP for neighbouring Rayleigh and Wickford, described Sir David as the "original Essex cheeky chappy" in his eulogy during the service.

"He put Basildon firmly on the map and he worked tirelessly for Southend. In the end I think his constituents loved him for it - just look at the turnout here today," he said.

"David was bit of a legend really, a wonderful husband and father, a fine Parliamentarian and an absolutely brilliant constituency MP.

"Whatever the weaknesses of Parliament, David Amess was the living embodiment of all its strengths... he really was a jolly good fellow."

A funeral mass is due to take place at the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral in London on Tuesday.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Mark Francois, Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, described his pro-Brexit colleague as the "original Essex cheeky chappy"
Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Sir David had represented Southend West for the Conservatives since 1997

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