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'Our hearts are shattered': Family of MP Sir David Amess release emotional tribute
17 October 2021, 18:42 | Updated: 17 October 2021, 21:16
The family of Sir David Amess said their "hearts are shattered" following the death of the Conservative MP, as they called for people to "set aside hatred" in an emotional tribute.
Sir David was stabbed multiple times during a meeting with his constituents in Essex on Friday.
A 25-year-old man is being held under the Terrorism Act on suspicion of the 69-year-old's murder.
In a statement, the family said they were trying to understand why Sir David was killed, adding: "Nobody should die in that way. Nobody."
Below is the family's statement in full:
"The family would like to thank everyone for the wonderful, wonderful tributes paid to David following his cruel and violent death. It truly has brought us so much comfort.
"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. Our hearts are shattered.
"However, there was still so much David wanted to do – this we know from the events of the last few days. So, this is not the end of Sir David Amess MP. It is the next chapter and as a family we ask everyone to support the many charities he worked with. There are so many to mention, so find one close to your hearts and help.
"David had recently joined a campaign to help raise funds for a memorial to Dame Vera Lynn. To him she epitomised the strength and courage of our nation. We would ask as many people as possible to support this and meet the target to complete the project.
"Closer to home, David was working hard for Southend to gain city status. In his memory, please show your support for this campaign.
"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. 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. We ask at this time that the family’s privacy be respected so that we can grieve in private."
Sir David's family released the emotional statement after dozens of mourners attended a special service in memory of the MP.
Residents gathered at St Michael's and All Angels church on Sunday afternoon to pay their respects and share their memories of Sir David, who was a devout Catholic.
Reverend Tom Loh said many passers-by came into the church, which is opposite the late Southend West MP's constituency office in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, when news of the attack spread, to "shed tears and light a candle".
Several fellow MPs have added to floral tributes amassed outside the church where he was stabbed to death.
Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois described his Conservative colleague as his "oldest and best friend" as he laid flowers outside the church.
Mr Francois was visibly emotional as he kissed the bouquet before laying it down.
He stood sombrely for a few moments in front of the floral tributes displayed outside the church, and was comforted by a companion.
"He was the best bloke I ever knew," Mr Francois said tearfully, adding that he would say more about his friend at the House of Commons tribute this week.
Fellow Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell also laid flowers, saying: "David of all people didn't deserve this to happen." "What happened here was pure evil and it cannot be ignored," the Romford MP said.
"I just hope that lessons will be learned from this and that this kind of thing never happens again."