Funeral of Jodie Chesney: Scouts lead guard of honour as community says final goodbye to teenage victim of knife crime
PUBLISHED: 16:19 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:43 29 March 2019
Scouts led a guard of honour as the community bid a final goodbye to Jodie Chesney at her funeral this afternoon.
The 17-year-old was stabbed to death in Amy’s Park in Harold Hill on Friday, March 1, and in the month since her death tributes have poured in from across the world, with purple ribbons not just covering the borough, but being put up as far away as Australia and America.
Jodie was a girl scout, and her troop from Dagenham – Columbus-Bellahoj – were wearing purple neckerchiefs and stood at attention as the congregation entered the church and her coffin was carried in this afternoon (Friday, March 29).
The service at Ascension Church in Baxter Road, Newham, was lead by Jodie’s uncle, Rev Dave Chesney, who paid tribute to his niece.
Several hundred people, many wearing hints of Jodie’s favourite colour purple, filled the pews as tributes were paid to a “loving and caring person”.
Rev Chesney said: “We will have a million thoughts and questions running through our heads, and sadly there won’t be any answers.
“We are all here because she touched our lives like no-one else could.”
Later talking about Jodie he said: “She gave so much of herself, and when she gave her mind to something she was committed to it.
“She would persevere and became this accomplished musician, she has been described as quirky, weird, a proud geek, she embraced the uniqueness of herself.
“She was blossoming herself as she came through her college years.
“She was such a loving person, she loved all people, there wasn’t a hating bone in her body.
“She was someone who was kind, loving, a committed friend, but let’s be fair she was a bit clumsy, there wasn’t a family holiday that went by without her injuring herself.”
Kind words were read by Dave on behalf of his mum, Jodie’s grandmother, and he said: “Beautiful memories of you will bloom in my heart forever”
Speaking of Jodie, one of her cousins said: “We lost something precious and pure.
“It hurts beyond belief. You were everything to so many people, you were the most beautiful person inside and out. We’re struggling like you wouldn’t believe.
“The effort and love you put into everything shows the kind of person you were.”
Her explorer group leader spoke and shared her favourite memories and described Jodie as a “wonderful, bubbly and smiley explorer.
“She was everything and more that you wanted in an explorer and she will be loved and missed always.”
Paul Wakeling, principal at Havering College, which Jodie attended, said she was a “wonderful student”
He said: “She was always doing caring things with a smile on her face.
“She talked with her teachers about how much she valued and loved her family.
“She loved college we know that. She loved doing things with her friends, making people laugh, and she must know she’s going to be in our hearts forever.
“Her friends described her as the light of their lives, smiling and passionate, never judging anyone. Always cheering people up with her silly jokes.
“She would light up everyone’s face with her infectious personality.”
The church took a moment as Jodie’s favourite song - Riptide by Vance Joy - was played, and the congregation was asked to remember the joy she brought to their lives.
Closing the ceremony her uncle thanked the community for the support that had been shown to the family, and the wonderful tributes that had been paid.
He said: “While it brings us emptiness, it must bring us confidence that she is safe.
“May the angels enjoy you forever and ever.”