A close friend and aide to Sir David Amess MP has vowed to continue his legacy and carry on with his passion projects.
The Southend West MP was stabbed to death one year ago while carrying out a constituency surgery in Belfairs Methodist Church.
Assistant Julie Cushion was at the church, and she gave evidence at the trial of his killer, Ali Harbi Ali, at the Old Bailey.
The court heard that 60-year-old Ms Cushion, who now works for Sir David’s successor, Anna Firth, made the first 999 call from the scene.
Ms Cushion described the impact of Sir David’s death as “profound”, adding: “Because I didn’t just lose a boss, I lost a friend, a very close friend.”
“That had a heck of an impact,” she said.
“But there were things that he was determined he wanted to see happen and I saw that as part of my role to continue those things.
“One of them is the Music Man Project, which is quite well renowned. David got them the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall and to perform at the Palladium.
“The next thing he wanted to see happen was for them to perform on Broadway.
“I’ve been very proud to become a trustee to try to make sure that that happens."
The musical education charity supports children and adults with disabilities.
He was also passionate about creating a memorial in honour of Dame Vera Lynn.
On the matter, Ms Cushion said: “I’ve joined the family, we’ve set up a charity, and we’re determined to see that completed as well, and he will be included in that memorial, which is lovely to see.”
Ms Cushion said she regrets that Sir David did not live to become Father of the House, the MP with the longest record of continuous service.
He had served Southend West since 1997, and Basildon before that since 1983.
“That was something he really would have loved and something we would have loved to have seen happen. That’s my one regret, that he never got that chance to do that.”
She said working with Sir David was “never ever boring”, recalling how he “wanted to make Southend the alternative city of culture when he was really peed off we didn’t get City of Culture”.
“He used to do the most craziest of things,” she said.
“When he was knighted he borrowed a horse from the local riding stable, hired a knight outfit and got up on a horse dressed as a knight. Who else would do it?”
She continued: “You always knew David had entered a room. He was that larger-than-life personality. He was very good at working a room.
“He would make sure he spoke to everybody. But I have to say his timekeeping was absolutely appalling.
“He had a reputation for being late for everything, but that’s because he would cram in getting around so many events in a day or an evening so the ultimate effect of that is he would always be late.”
She said she will remember Sir David as “an irreplaceable friend”.
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