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Jodie Chesney: Minute’s silence after council leader calls on politicians to ‘stop playing politics with children’s lives’

PUBLISHED: 13:12 08 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:19 08 March 2019

Mourners gathered outside Barking Town Hall to observe a minute's silence. Picture: JON KING

Mourners gathered outside Barking Town Hall to observe a minute's silence. Picture: JON KING

Archant

Jodie Chesney’s mother, sister, aunts, uncles, schoolfriends and Scout troop have joined in a minute’s silence a week after her death.

Barking and Dagenham Council leader, Cllr Darren Rodwell, called for national politicians to stop playing politics with children’s lives before 200 people fell silent outside the Town Hall earlier today.

Cllr Rodwell said: “We’ve got to stop playing politics with this. We’ve got to stand together and respect what Jodie stood for.

“We need to keep working together as a community to stop knife crime. We need our national politicians to understand the hurt it is really causing.”

Speaking from the steps of the Town Hall, Cllr Rodwell broke down in tears as he said that what happened to Jodie, who lived in Dagenham, could have happened to his own children or grandchildren.

L-R: Jodies Explorer Scout leader, Anna Skipworth, Andy Dodkins, Barking and Dagenham District Scout Leader,  
Cllr Darren Rodwell and Dame Margaret Hodge MP. Picture: JON KINGL-R: Jodies Explorer Scout leader, Anna Skipworth, Andy Dodkins, Barking and Dagenham District Scout Leader, Cllr Darren Rodwell and Dame Margaret Hodge MP. Picture: JON KING

Town Hall Square then fell silent as mourners and well-wishers observed a minute’s silence for 17-year-old Jodie, who died after being stabbed in the back in a park near St Neot’s Road, Harold Hill on March 1.

Jodie’s grieving family stood with their heads bowed alongside members of the public.

Headteacher Ges Smith with pupils from Jo Richardson Community School where Jodie studied, stood side by side with youngsters from Columbus-Bellahoj Explorer Scout Unit.

Barking and Dagenham’s ceremony followed a march through the streets of Romford on Thursday where up to 2,000 people came out to demand justice for Jodie and an end to knife crime.

About 200 people observed the minute's silence before heading into the Town Hall. Picture: JON KINGAbout 200 people observed the minute's silence before heading into the Town Hall. Picture: JON KING

“This march showed the real effect that knife crime has,” Cllr Rodwell said. “It touches all our lives, not least the family and friends of the victims.”

Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge then shared her hope that a memorial could be created to mark some of the things Jodie did in her life.

The Havering College A-level student was an Explorer Scout who took part in a BBC Remembrance Day event at the Royal Albert Hall in 2018.

Dame Margaret, standing near the borough flag flown at half mast, said: “It’s really hard for any of us to think what to say about after such a senseless, early, unnecessary, horrible death.

Jodie Chesney died after being stabbed in a park in Harold Hill. Picture: MPSJodie Chesney died after being stabbed in a park in Harold Hill. Picture: MPS

“What gives a bit of comfort is that people live on in our memories.”

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