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MP David Amess remembered as ‘Mr Southend’ at vigil after knife attack

The church service was held to remember the 69-year-old veteran politician, who has been the Conservative MP for Southend West since 1997, and supported the town’s bid for city status

Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer pay tribute to Jo Cox

A vigil has taken place at a church close to where MP Sir David Amess was stabbed to death while hosting a constituency surgery on Friday afternoon.

The 69-year-old veteran politician has been the Conservative MP for Southend West since 1997 and supported the town’s bid for city status.

A service at Saint Peter’s Church to remember him on Friday evening heard him described by a priest as “Mr Southend”.

The church fell silent as Father Jeffrey Woolnaugh paid tribute to the dedicated dad-of-five and urged his constituents to remember him.

The priest placed a photograph of Sir David at the front of the church, before saying: “This liturgy is one I was not expecting to lead today.



The vigil took place close to where MP Sir David Amess was stabbed
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“The whole world grieves. In this Mass we pray for the repose of the soul of dear David.

“Have you ever known Sir David Amess without that happy smile on his face? Because the greeting he would always give you was that happy smile.

“He carried that great east London spirit of having no fear and being able to talk to people and the level they’re at. Not all politicians, I would say, are good at that.”



Father Woolnough spoke about his own memories of Sir David
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Around 80 people attended the service where Father Woolnough also spoke about his own memories of Sir David.

He said: “When you can speak to your MP and you can talk and get on like a house on fire, that’s when you can talk to them later about things that are important to your area.

“What can we say? He died doing the thing he loved, meeting his constituents, his local people.”



Around 80 mourners attended the vigil
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Image:

Getty Images)




Father Woolnough added that his constituents could “count on” Sir David, and said: “He was always available. We don’t have the words tonight.

“Dear Sir David, rest well.”

Attendees were invited to light a candle and share their own memories of Sir David.

Essex Police said a 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered at the scene.



A close friend of Sir David mourns at the church
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A source told the Mirror the arrested man is a British national.

Flags at parliament have been lowered to half mast following Sir David’s death.

Boris Johnson has spoken of the “shock” and “sadness” around Westminster and the country.

Speaking in Downing Street, the Prime Minister said the UK had lost a “fine public servant” in Sir David and one of ” the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”.



Father Woolnough said that his constituents could “count on” Sir David
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Image:

REUTERS)




He added: “He also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered an immediate review of MPs’ security.

Ms Patel met police and representatives of the security and intelligence agencies.

Her spokesman said that she had also spoken to the Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.



The 69-year-old became an MP in 1983
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Image:

SWNS)




Earlier, Ms Patel said she was “devastated” by the loss of Sir David in what she described as an “attack on democracy itself”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “Sir David had a profound sense of public duty. He was highly respected and much liked across the Houses of Parliament on all sides.

“Violence, intimidation and threats will never prevail over the tireless work of public servents like David, simply doing his job.”


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