fbpx

Southend boosted by city status a year after death of Sir David Amess – MP

The father of five had long campaigned for Southend to become a city and this was done after his stabbing death in 2021.

13 October 2022

The city status granted to Southend in honour of murdered MP Sir David Amess has “given everyone a huge boost”, his successor said a year after his death, as she suggested Southend could bid for UK City of Culture in 2029.

Sir David was stabbed to death while meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15 2021.

The father of five had long campaigned for Southend to become a city and this was done after his death.

Sir David was posthumously made the city of Southend’s first freeman at a ceremony attended by the Prince of Wales in March.

Newsagent Len Quinn sells a copy of the Southend Echo at his shop in Southend-on-Sea in Essex
Newsagent Len Quinn sells a copy of the Southend Echo at his shop in Southend-on-Sea in Essex last October (Joe Giddens/PA)

Anna Firth, who was elected as MP for Southend West in February, said that Southend becoming a city had “given everyone a huge boost”.

“Civic pride is important and it’s given everybody a focus because what we all want to do now is to make the city of Southend the city that he would have been proud of,” said the 56-year-old.

“We’re all coming together and working out ways in which we can take Southend forward.

“Just one of the suggestions which I’ve come up with is that we go for UK City of Culture in 2029 because culture was really important to Sir David and he led the charge for Southend to be UK City of Culture in 2017 and we didn’t get it.

“We missed out to Hull.

“So, what better legacy than for us to fulfil his dream and make us not only a city but a City of Culture.”

She said that bids begin in “two or three years’ time” but “to be bid-ready you want to completely up your game”.

She said there was a “fantastic inaugural city concert” earlier in the year as a tribute to Sir David.

A candle and a photo at a vigil at St Michael & All Angels church in Leigh-on-Sea Essex for Conservative MP Sir David Amess
A candle and a photo at a vigil at St Michael & All Angels Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, for Conservative MP Sir David Amess last October (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“We’re thinking possibly of a new maritime museum and we’re looking at all aspects of the city and the culture and the theatre that we have, and working out ways in which we can make that gearshift to an actual national, international offering,” said Ms Firth.

John Lamb, chairman of the Southend West Conservative Association, said that Sir David would be “over the moon” that Southend has become a city and it has “brought a lot of pride”.

“You don’t see everything that’s actually come about through city status but in fact it is building,” said Mr Lamb, 74.

“We’ve seen multinational businesses who want to move into the town, bring the investment.”

He said that the “whole town is changing and for the good reasons”.

Mr Lamb said that, after achieving city status for Southend, Sir David would have been looking forward.

“Now he’d be working on ‘what’s the next thing that Southend needs? Let’s get that going’,” he said.

“He would be determined to move that forward for us.”

More from Perspective

Get a free copy of our print edition

News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Your email address will not be published. The views expressed in the comments below are not those of Perspective. We encourage healthy debate, but racist, misogynistic, homophobic and other types of hateful comments will not be published.