Southend communities pay tribute to Sir David Amess

The Jewish communities of Southend have paid tribute to popular local MP Sir David Amess, who was tragically murdered earlier this month. 

Michael Nelkin, president of Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation, said: “As a Community, we are so saddened by the very tragic and sudden loss of Sir David Amess who was a great and loyal friend to the Southend & Westcliff Hebrew Congregation and the wider Jewish Community. 

“It is our intention to hold a memorial service in honour of his memory as soon as we receive a suitable date from his family and civic dignitaries. 

“Sir David had time for everyone. He was a passionate supporter of our Community functions and events whether it be Holocaust Memorial Day, Chanukah parties, Jewish Community Centre and many of our local charities which helped raise thousands of pounds.  

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his dear wife and family at this most awful time.” 

The shul’s Rabbi Geoffrey Hyman added: “Sir David was always supportive and sympathetic to our members and causes. He attended numerous events at our synagogue and, on a personal note I must add, that he warmly welcomed me into this area and always kept in touch.”  

Rabbi Warren Elf of Southend and District Reform Synagogue released a statement expressing the community’s “shock, horror and deep sadness”. 

It continued: “Sir David was a friend and advocate for so many of us and was always willing to attend special events. He attended special anniversary services, including for our 50th Anniversary soon after he was elected as MP for Southend West, civic services, appeared as a panellist on our Any Questions evenings on more than one occasion and his last visit was for a celebration to honour one of our members who had been active in many local causes. 

“Along with members of all faiths and other groups, we want to express our gratitude for Sir David’s tireless work, commitment and enthusiasm for so many local projects and worthy causes.

“He will be truly missed by all of us. He was a tremendous advocate, tireless worker and dedicated ambassador for our city and an inspirational human being we are proud to be able to call our friend.” 

Tributes also came from Southend’s Charedi community, as well as the Chief Rabbi, Board of Deputies and all of Britain’s Jewish movements. They all noted Sir David’s close ties with the Jewish community and passionate support for Holocaust education and interfaith work. 

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