News of Southend’s city status described as ‘sombre but special’

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Outend’s city status comes after at least two decades of work by local MP Sir David Ames in championing the area.

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NS Essex The city competed to become a city as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations the following year.

Monday’s news was hailed by the mayor as a “sad but special moment” and by a local councillor as “emotional but unbelievable”.


Throughout history, many cities have been regarded as having a cathedral, but this is not a requirement.

It is the emperor who has the ultimate power to grant city status to a place – usually decided on the advice of ministers.

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According to Commons Library, Birmingham The city was the first to be built without a cathedral, in 1889.

Birmingham is officially the largest city in the UK, with a population of 1.1 million at the 2011 census.

London is not officially a city, but there are two cities within the limits of the Greater London area: the City of London (the UK’s third-smallest city by population) and the City of Westminster.

Based on the same census, St David’s in Pembrokeshire is the UK’s smallest town, with a population of just under 1,400.

City status has, in recent times, been granted through a series of competitive bids, managed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the UK Parliament website states.

The Commons Library explains that in addition to being a cathedral, city status in the UK may be associated with a university, a particular form of local government, or an area with a large population.

grant city status to southend The announcement, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has been hailed as a fitting tribute to Sir David’s years of work for the region.

southend united The football club tweeted: “City of the Southend. Heartfelt tribute to MP Sir David Ames.

Local shop worker Lee Jordison described it as “good news” and hopes it will be a source of pride for loved ones.

The 40-year-old, who works at Hicks Butcher in Leigh-on-Sea, looked after the incident at the Belfairs Methodist Church where Sir David Ames was fatally attacked on Friday, seeing that emergency services rushed to the scene had gone.

He told the PA news agency: “I think this is great news and a fitting tribute to a man who campaigned for such a long time to give city status to Southend. I’m sure the city of Southend will do as well. Will be happy!

“It’s just a real shame that he never got to see this happen, but I’m sure his family would be proud that it was honored because of him.”

Vicky Ford The Conservative MP from Chelmsford tweeted: “At this very sad time it is entirely fitting that Southend will become a City.

“Hello from another city in Chelmsford, Essex.”

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council leader Ian Gilbert said he felt a “mix of emotions” after hearing news of the city’s situation, adding that he could “bring people together”.

He added: “While I don’t want this to happen in these circumstances, I am still happy and proud that it is happening.

“It is something about which Sir David was extremely passionate.

“Members of Parliament will tell you that they spoke in the House almost every time the claim of city status was granted to Southend.

“It was something he cared about.”

Councilor Margaret Borton, Mayor of Southend, said: “It is a sad but special moment to hear the Prime Minister’s announcement today.

“Achieving city status for the city is testament to how dear and respected Sir David was.

“My only wish is that Sir David could have witnessed this moment himself, for it has brought to life the years of his tireless campaign.

“I hope this announcement will highlight the legacy that Sir David has left us.”

Councilor Tony Cox, leader of the Southend Conservative group, said hearing the news was “an emotional but incredible moment”.

He continued: “Sir David, your legacy will live on in Southend-on-Sea forever.

“I can’t thank the Queen and the Prime Minister enough for giving me that legacy, but what really breaks my heart is that they’re not around to see it.

“I’m sure he’ll see us now saying ‘my work in the southend is now done’.”

Actor and singer Lee Mead, who is from Southend, said the town’s status would be part of Sir David’s legacy, as the MP worked “tirelessly for many years” to build it.

He added: “This is definitely one of our proudest moments and we have them to thank for that.”


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