Funeral and horse-drawn hearse procession to be held for MP Sir David Amess

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Mourners will pay their respects to MP Sir David Amess at a funeral service and procession in his Southend West constituency, ahead of a service at Westminster Cathedral the following day.

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

His friend and colleague Mark Francois is to deliver a eulogy at Monday’s private ecumenical service at St Mary’s Church in Prittlewell.

The veteran MP’s friend, former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, is to read a statement on behalf of the Amess family.

Following the 1pm service, a horse-drawn hearse will carry the casket on a procession through Southend.

It is due to pause outside Southend’s Civic Centre and again outside Sir David’s constituency office, Iveagh Hall, before returning to the chapel of rest.

On Tuesday, a Requiem Mass will be held at Westminster Cathedral in London, where a message from the Pope is to be shared.

Ian Gilbert, leader of Southend Council, said Monday would be an “incredibly emotional day”.

He said that Sir David’s family “understand there are many others in the city who knew and loved him”, and have agreed for the service to be broadcast on local radio station BBC Essex.

Sir David Amess death
A private ecumenical funeral for MP Sir David Amess is to take place in his Southend West constituency (Kirsty O’Connor/ PA)

In an earlier interview, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told BBC Essex that several of his Cabinet colleagues broke down in tears when they learned of Sir David’s death.

Mr Johnson had been on a Cabinet away day when he was told the news.

“Everybody was absolutely devastated,” he told the broadcaster.

“We were all sitting around.

“I then got called out and got given the news.

“I had to go back in to tell Cabinet colleagues, many of whom had known David for decades, and I’m afraid several colleagues broke down in tears because it was just an appalling piece of news.

“I think we were also very shaken by the implications of what had happened, and the fact his life had been tragically ended in the way that it was.”

Monday’s funeral service, led by Reverend Paul Mackay and Rev Monsignor Kevin William Hale, is strictly by invitation only.

Mr Gilbert said people can pay their respects to Sir David by lining the streets as the hearse passes and by writing in the book of condolence at the Civic Centre before it closes at 7pm on Monday.

Sir David’s family have requested that, in lieu of flowers or other tributes, donations are made to the charities that he supported.

These include The Dog’s Trust, The Music Man Project, Prost8, Endometriosis UK, and the Dame Vera Lynn Memorial Statue.

To donate, see www.justgiving.com/team/SirDavidAmess

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