Charles to present Letters Patent making Southend a city

Local Tory MP Sir David Amess, who was stabbed to death during a constituency surgery last October, had campaigned tirelessly for the status.

01 March 2022

The Prince of Wales is to formally present Southend with the Letters Patent which grant it city status, on behalf of the Queen and following the death of MP Sir David Amess.

Sir David, who had served as Conservative MP for Southend West since 1997, was stabbed to death during a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15 last year.

The 69-year-old had campaigned tirelessly to make Southend a city.

2021 deaths
Sir David Amess had campaigned tirelessly to make Southend a city (Chris McAndrew/PA)

Days after Sir David’s death, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that “Her Majesty has agreed that Southend will be accorded the city status it so clearly deserves”.

Charles will formally present the legal document which entitles the change of status, the Letters Patent, to Southend’s mayor, Margaret Borton, at a council meeting on Tuesday.

He will do so on behalf of the Queen, and will be joined by his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Lady Julia Amess will be given the freedom of the city on behalf of her late husband.

Charles and Camilla will then visit the seafront to unveil a new eco-friendly pier train named after Sir David.

The battery-powered trains will be used to take visitors from the shoreline to the end of Southend Pier, which at 1.33 miles (2.14km) is the longest pleasure pier in the world.

The £3.25 million pier train replacement project is seeing the existing diesel trains, which have been in operation on the pier since 1986, replaced with new, eco-friendly trains, designed in heritage green and cream following a public vote.

Green and cream-liveried pier trains previously ran on Southend Pier from 1949 to 1978.

Mayor Mrs Borton said: “Formally receiving city status from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales will be a special moment for Southend-on-Sea, and we are hugely honoured to receive a royal visit from Their Royal Highnesses on what is sure to be a momentous day for our new city.”

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