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Obituary: Sir David Amess MP

Sir David Amess MP was involved with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Funerals and Bereavement (APPG) for some years and had held the post of vice-chair.

He first entered Parliament in 1983, originally representing Basildon and later becoming the MP for Southend West in 1997. Although he never held a ministerial role during his long parliamentary career, he was a parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to former ministers Edwina Currie and Michael Portillo in the 1980s.

In later years, Sir David concentrated his efforts from the backbenches of the House of Commons. Sitting on a number of Commons committees, he sponsored numerous parliamentary bills – many of which were focused on his keen interest in animal welfare.

His interventions in the Commons were often notable, and he campaigned for many years to have Southend designated as a city. Since his death, many MPs and colleagues have spoken about working with David, commenting on this compassion and how much fun he was to work with – from pancake flipping races to taking part in the Westminster Dog of the Year show with his beloved pugs.

He received his knighthood, in 2015, for political and public service – an honour which he celebrated by dressing up in a suit of armour.

Jeremy Field, managing director of CPJ Field and Past President of the NAFD, worked closely with Sir David on the APPG and paid tribute to his passion as an MP. “Sir David was well informed and passionate about the work of the APPG for funerals and bereavement,” said Jeremy. “Always bringing his trademark beaming smile, he consistently asked the right questions, getting to the heart of the matter. He spoke to you as an equal with respect for everyone’s point of view. We are blessed to have known him and had the benefit of his input.”

Sir John Hayes MP, Chair of the APPG and a good friend of Sir David, added that his “public spirit meant that he would never have compromised his direct connection to the people he represented for fear of his personal safety. For him, dedication to what is right was never an option … his political activism was as eclectic as it was informed by cast-iron values.”

Sir David's commitment to service was shaped by his devoutly held Christian faith, and he could always be found defending the defenceless. He would surely be proud that his beloved Southend will indeed now achieve city status, in his memory.

He is survived by his wife Julia and their five children, David, Katherine, Sarah, Alexandra and Florence. He will be sadly missed.

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