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World Slain British MP memorialised at local community mass

11:20  16 october  2021
11:20  16 october  2021 Source:   afp.com

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Hours after the shocking death Friday of British MP David Amess, and a short walk from the church where he was stabbed to death, locals honoured the veteran politician at an impromptu evening mass.

Hours after the shocking death of David Amess, St Peter's Catholic Church in Leigh-on-Sea held a memorial service for the slain Conservative MP © Tolga Akmen Hours after the shocking death of David Amess, St Peter's Catholic Church in Leigh-on-Sea held a memorial service for the slain Conservative MP Parish priest Jeffrey Woolnough said Amess 'died doing the thing he loved -- meeting his constituents' © Tolga Akmen Parish priest Jeffrey Woolnough said Amess 'died doing the thing he loved -- meeting his constituents'

One by one, members of the 50-strong congregation at St Peter's Catholic Church in Leigh-on-Sea, in southeast England, approached the altar to share memories of a lawmaker described as "old school" and one of their own.

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Police forensics officers at the scene of the fatal stabbing at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea © Tolga Akmen Police forensics officers at the scene of the fatal stabbing at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea

From a constituent who had needed help with a family member's visa application to a disabled child's father whose cause Amess had championed, they each waited patiently to make their eulogies.

In a sign of the rawness of the occasion in the modest, bare-bricked suburban church, their voices sometimes cracked with emotion.

"Remember David with that wonderful smile of welcome which he takes with him on his journey to his creator," said Jeff Woolnough, the priest who led the evening liturgy.

"He carried with him that great east London spirit... he was able to talk to anyone at their level. Not all politicians are good at that," he added, pointing during the service to a picture of Amess on a nearby lectern draped in purple and gold.

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A member of the public leaves a bunch of flowers just outside the area cordoned off by police © Tolga Akmen A member of the public leaves a bunch of flowers just outside the area cordoned off by police

"He died doing the thing he loved -- meeting his constituents. He was old school... in that respect."

While the service steered largely clear of politics, Woolnough lauded the late lawmaker's commitment to Catholic principles like opposition to abortion, a fringe stance in Britain.

"As a committed Catholic we could always count on Sir David when there was a difficult vote going through the House of Commons," the priest said.

- 'He was genuine' -

In the streets around nearby Belfair Methodist Church where Amess was brutally attacked Friday lunchtime, residents were struggling to come to terms with the tragedy on their doorstep.

As dusk settled on the quiet residential area, locals returning home during the evening rush hour were greeted by a police cordon, traffic diverted and officers dotted around.

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Claire Williams-Reese, 53, a teacher, stood looking towards the church over the blue and white police tape that fluttered in the evening breeze.

"I've lived here 19 years and there's never been anything like this. It makes me scared. It really does worry me," she told AFP.

"He was a lovely guy. And he was really involved in the community. For a politician, and there are a lot of politicians I don't like, he was genuine."

By nightfall, a small pile of flowers left by well-wishers near the scene of the killing was growing.

Local Angie, 66, brought a bouquet of red and yellow gladioli wrapped in tin foil.

She explained she had bought the flowers because she felt she needed to leave something.

"I'm just horrified," she said. "When I found out that he died I just shouted out, I was just terribly upset.

"It is close, but wherever this might have happened to that particular man, we would all be devastated."

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usr: 1
This is interesting!