An aide who worked for murdered MP Sir David Amess has paid tribute to her “very close friend” a year on from his death.
Julie Cushion, a constituency assistant to the Conservative politician, was at the church when Sir David was fatally stabbed in October, 2021.
The 60-year-old, who now works Anna Firth who succeeded Sir David as MP for Southend West, made the first 999 call from the scene.
Ali Harbi Ali was found guilty of the “cold and calculating” murder of the MP at London’s Old Bailey in April this year.
Islamic State fanatic Ali told the court that he had no regrets about the murder.
A jury deliberated for just 18 minutes in finding Ali guilty of murder and preparing terrorist acts.
Speaking on the anniversary of the death of Sir David, Ms Cushion spoke of her aim to carry on with the projects that he was passionate about.
It includes his campaign for the Music Man Project – a musical education charity for people with disabilities – to perform at Broadway, after he was successful in gaining them the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall and the Palladium.
Sir David also called for a memorial to be built in tribute to Dame Vera Lynn, with Ms Cushion now carrying on that work.
“I didn’t just lost a boss, I lost a friend, a very close friend,” she said, reflecting on the loss of the MP.
“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.”
The former aide said the Conservative “would have loved” to become the Father of the House – the title traditionally bestowed on the senior member of the Commons who has the longest continuous service.
Sir David had been an MP for Basildon between 1983 until 1997, before representing Southend West from 1997 up until his death in 2021.
“The regrets I have for David that I never saw happen, that was him becoming Father of the House,” she said.
“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 the chance to do that.”
Ms Cushion described her former boss as a “larger-than-life” personality.
“When he was knighted, he borrowed a horse from the local riding stable, hired a knight outfit and got dressed up on a horse dressed as a knight. Who else would do it?,” she said.
“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.”
Timekeeping, however, was not one of the late MPs’ strengths, Ms Cushion noted.
“I have to say his timekeeping was absolutely appalling,” she recalled.
“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.”