Sir David Amess: family plea for people to ‘set aside differences’ as MP is laid to rest

People lined the streets to pay their respects as the funeral of MP Sir David Amess took place

The family of MP Sir David Amess, who was stabbed to death, have asked for people to “set aside their differences” after the politician was laid to rest.

The funeral for the politician took place at St Mary’s Church in Prittlewell on Monday (22 November), with members of the public lining the street to honour him.

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His family issued an emotional plea for people to “set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all” during a statement which was read at the service.

At a glance: 5 key points

Where did his funeral take place?

Mourners gathered at St Mary’s Church in Prittlewell to say goodbye to Amess, who had served his constituency of Southend West for 24 years before his death.

Hundreds of constituents paid tribute to Sir David Amess as he was laid to rest. (Credit: Getty)

His coffin had been draped in a Union Flag and was carried by members of the Southend Fire Service, who were pallbearers for the service.

Sir David’s coffin, draped in a union flag, was carried by pallbearers from Southend Fire Service.

After the church service, they carried the 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 and people applauded.

What did his family say?

His family thanked those who had paid tribute to him and his work within his constituency for their support since he passed away,

In a statement, read at the service by Ann Widdecombe, they said: “The support shown by friends, constituents and the general public alike has been so overwhelming. As a family, it has given us strength.

“We have realised from tributes paid that there was far, far more to David than even we, those closest to him, knew. We are enormously proud of him.”

They also called for peace and tolerance, and said: “This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness.

“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.

“Nobody should die in that way. Nobody.

“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.”

Members of the Southend Fire Service acted a pallbearers and carried Sir David Amess’ coffin. (Credit: Getty)

Who else paid tribute to him?

A eulogy was read by Sir David’s friend and colleague, Mark Francois.

He praised his commitment to Southend West and gave him the nickname “the original Essex cheeky chappy”.

Francois said: “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 in this beautiful house of God, which, before long, will form part of the city of Southend – forever.

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

“The David Amess I knew never yielded on an important point of principle to anyone, and so neither shall we.

“Despite this awful tragedy, we are going to keep calm and carry on, because I earnestly believe that is exactly what he would have wanted us to do.

“So, we come to say farewell, or perhaps it is adieu, to Sir David Amess – a wonderful husband and father to Lady Julia and their children, a fine parliamentarian and an absolutely brilliant constituency MP.

“Whatever the weaknesses of Parliament, David Amess was the living embodiment of all its strengths.

“You see, ladies and gentlemen, in the end he really was, quite literally, a jolly good fellow. And so, I am sure, say all of us.”

A requiem mass is set to be held in Westminster Cathedral in London on Tuesday (23 November), where a message from the Pope will be shared in tribute to Sir David, who was a devout Catholic.

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