Hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral of murdered MP Sir David Amess.
A memorial was held this afternoon at St Mary’s Church near Southend ahead of a Westminster Cathedral service tomorrow.
The coffin was covered in a Union flag in a horse-drawn hearse, led by three police officers on motorbikes, the Mirror reports.
Pull bearers from Southend Fire Service carried the MP’s coffin into the church, with members of the public clapping as they did so.
After the 1pm service, the casket was placed back in the hearse and taken on a procession through Southend.
A devout Catholic, the father-of-five was stabbed and killed while attending a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on October 15.
Sir David’s family said in a statement read by Ann Widdecombe: “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.”
The MP’s family also asked people to “set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all”.
They said in a statement: “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.”
This morning, Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford and close friend of Sir David, said when he arrived at the church: “I think today is an opportunity for the people of Southend to come together as a community to express their grief and sorrow for the loss of Sir David.
“The family have been greatly consoled from the outpouring of sympathy. He was my best friend in parliament.
“We were very close and if I’m honest, today is very emotional for me but I hope when I do my eulogy I will do justice.
“He was my friend but also a loving husband, father and fine parliamentarian. One of the privileges of knowing him was you never knew what he was going to do next.”
Olivia Sanders, the mayor of Brentwood, said: “It’s a huge honour and privilege to come to this service and celebrate the life of sir David and all the good he did for Southend.
“He did too much to list, he had left a huge legacy that will carry on his name for a long time.
“Southend and the people of Southend were his life and for the town that he loved so much to finally be a city would have meant the world.
“He was someone who was such a great constituency MP, he was so funny and witty and incredibly kind.”
Ian Gilbert, leader of Southend Council, said Monday would be an “incredibly emotional day”.
On Tuesday, a Requiem Mass will be held at Westminster Cathedral in London, where a message from the Pope is to be shared.
Mr Johnson had been on a Cabinet away day when he was told the news.
He told the broadcaster: “Everybody was absolutely devastated. 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.”
Don’t miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond – Sign up to our daily newsletter here.