Murdered MP Sir David Amess was tireless and inspiring for members of his local community, from homeless people, to members of the local mosque to elderly war heroes
An offer of extraordinary help was quite ordinary to Sir David Amess.
That is the overwhelming verdict of his grieving constituents who one by one had turned to the politician in their hour of need.
A former homeless couple, an elderly war heroine and a woman denied fertility treatment are among the many to have benefited from the slain MP’s unstinting desire to offer a hand.
And today, in every corner of the Sir David’s constituency, normal folk lined up to heap praise on the member of Parliament who was never too busy to listen.
One told how he helped one of the few British women to see active service in Germany during World War II obtain her war medals 70 years on.
Samantha McDonald, 44, contacted the MP five years ago after learning the elderly war heroine had been demobbed without ever receiving her promised and deserved accolades. Samantha said: “David got straight onto the local military representative for the British legion.
“They worked together with armed forces to contact whoever they needed to, to get the medals. She received them within three months.
“He went out of his way to make it happen. She was over the moon.” The pensioner Sir David helped is now understood to be more than 100 years old and is living in a care home.
Another woman revealed the MP had given her a chance to become a mother after he intervened in a fertility treatment battle with the NHS.
She wrote online: “Sir David stepped in at the most devastating time in my life.
“This man changed my future forever.
“I now have the chance to be a mum.”
Volunteers at Saint Vincent’s Centre are considering naming their allotment after Sir David, who visited their premises just a fortnight ago.
Former homeless couple Darren Bailey and Emma Hayter recalled how he took time to listen.
Darren, 44, told the MP he had spent two months living in a tent in Southend last winter, but had managed to gain support to find housing through the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, backed by Sir David.
He said: “I told him how it had been really scary being on my own, and at times I didn’t want to be here any more as I had no purpose.
“He was a great listener. It really helped to have someone of his level encourage me and take the time to hear my story.”
Emma, 29, who became homeless after a relationship broke down, but now lives with Darren in Southend, said Sir David inspired them to continue working towards “a positive future”.
The charity’s director Dan Cauchi, 46, told how the MP stepped helped him get his pension sorted.
He added: “He was an amazing man. I bawled when I heard what happened to him.”
The animal-loving MP previously backed the Sunday Mirror’s campaign to end cruel trophy hunting after we exposed how tourists could book holidays dedicated to killing animals.
One local, Karla Syrett, said he would often stop to pet his constituents’ dogs.
The 40-year-old was one of dozens to pay tribute outside the Belfairs Methodist Church where Sir David was attacked.
She wept as she laid flowers at the scene and told the Sunday Mirror: “He used to stop and stroke my shih tzu, Duke.
“I talked to him about loads of stuff. He told me he was lucky to have such a nice family.
“My husband worked on the paint section in Homebase and David used to chat when he came in to buy decorating stuff. He was such a lovely guy.”
© 2021 Steve Bainbridge)
Members or the Muslim community also left flowers.
Ruhul Shamsuddim said: “For him to have his life cut short like this is so distressing. He was so kind to our community. He was always smiling.”
Audrey Martin described her MP as “an absolute gentleman” who “dedicated his whole life to his constituents”.
And proud socialist Bee Middlemast-Neal remembered him fondly, despite their political differences.
© 2021 Steve Bainbridge)
She said: “On two occasions he successfully intervened on my behalf, when I had problems with the Department of Work and Pensions and Appeals and Tribunals service.”
Abigail Mkhize remembered how the MP helped her with her Employment and Support Allowance benefit problems.
She said: “Six years ago I was having chemotherapy and, as I was working as an agency nurse, I had problems with getting the help with ESA, so I went and saw him.
“He said, ‘This is not right, you’ve been here for so long and you don’t deserve this – I will sort it out.’ And he did.”
Ms Mkhize added: “He was the father of all nations, that’s how we can describe him.
“Whether you were black, white, irrespective of where you come from, he gave that love, affection, kindness, caring.”