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Sir David Amess’ family calls for country to ‘set hatred aside’ at his funeral

Sir David Amess’ family calls for country to ‘set hatred aside’ at his funeral
Members of the public line the streets as coffin, draped in union flag, carried on procession through Southend by horse-drawn cart

Monsieur David Amess’s family called for the country to “set aside hatred and work together” as mourners gathered in Southend to pay their respects to the late MP.

A funeral service took place at St Mary’s Church in Prittlewell followed by a procession through the streets of his Southend West constituency.

The father-of-five was stabbed to death while holding a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on 15 octobre.

Bells tolled as Sir David’s coffin, draped in a union flag, was brought to the St Mary’s churchyard entrance in a hearse driven at walking pace.

Pall bearers from Southend Fire Service carried the coffin the short distance to the church as they were saluted by members of 3rd Chalkwell Sea Scouts and members of the public who lined the streets broke into spontaneous applause.

Sir David’s friend and colleague Mark Francois delivered a eulogy at Monday’s private ecumenical service, while former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, also a friend of the veteran MP, read a statement on behalf of the Amess family, who said their “hearts are shattered” but they are “enormously proud” of him.

The family asked people to “set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all”.

“This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness,” their statement said.

“Whatever one’s race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand. As a family, we are trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred.

Members of the public lined the streets to pay their respects as the horse-drawn hearse carrying the coffin of Conservative MP Sir David Amess paused outside his constituency office at Iveagh Hall, à Leigh-on-Sea, Essex

“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.”

During his tribute to Sir David Amess, his friend and fellow Essex MP Mark Francois said the killed politician hadwon in the endafter his campaign for Southend to be made a city found posthumous success.

Mr Francois, the MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, told mourners at St Mary’s Church: “He put Basildon firmly on the map and he worked tirelessly for Southend.

“À la fin, I think his constituents loved him for it.

Just look at the turnout here today in this beautiful house of God, lequel, before long, will form part of the city of Southendforever.

“Donc, he won in the end. Some would say, including me, that David was a bit of a legend really.

A funeral service has been held for Southend MP Sir David Amess

The former minister also recalled how Sir David, a devout Catholic, had helped break the world record for the most centenarians at one lunch during an event in Southend, recorded an album with Bananarama, and had a boiled sweet blessed by the Pope.

Following the funeral service, pall bearers carried Sir David’s coffin to a horse-drawn hearse for a procession around Southend.

Hundreds of people gathered outside Southend’s Civic Centre to pay their respects as the hearse, led by four black horses, paused in front of it.

Uniformed police officers bowed their heads as the hearse arrived, with members of the public breaking into applause.

The hearse will return to the chapel of rest before a Requiem Mass is held at Westminster Cathedral in London on Tuesday, where a message from the Pope is to be shared.

Reportage supplémentaire par l'Association de la presse