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Rector Calls For Unity In Westborough and Park Barn After Fatal Stabbing

Published on: 28 Sep, 2012
Updated on: 28 Sep, 2012

The team rector of St Francis’ and St Clare’s Churches, Westborough and Park Barn, the Rev’d Stefanie Hodges.

The team rector of Westborough and Park Barn has appealed to the community to stand together following the fatal stabbing of a teenager last weekend.

The Rev’d Stefanie Hodges has expressed her deep sadness at the death of 19-year-old Jake Bates, of Roundhill Way, and has urged the wider community not to condemn Westborough.

She said: “As a community we have been profoundly shocked and saddened by this loss of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jake’s family as we struggle to imagine the pain they are in and the journey ahead of them.

“Our prayers are also with the perpetrator and all of those impacted by Jake’s death.”

Talking to members of the community since the incident, Stefanie says she has been struck by the resilience of local residents and the need for the community to hold its head high.

She said: “I have been into schools and one student said they would never have believed something like this could happen around here.

“It’s amazing how protective the residents can be of this area especially when others outside want to demonise it. There are some really amazing people here, sadly others outside don’t often see that.

“This summer for example we had some wonderful jubilee celebrations with a real community spirit. I pray that this terrible tragic incident will be the last of its kind and that there will be no reprisals locally.

“Westborough has its problems, there is no denying it, but every parish has its problems and I can truly say I am pleased to be part of this community as its local rector.”

Special prayers will be said at St Francis’ Church on Sunday (September 30) and there will be a short time of silence in memory of Jake. All are welcome to the service that starts at 9.30am. The Anglican church is in Beckingham Road, off Aldershot Road.

Special prayers will be said in memory of Jake Bates at St Francis’ Church, Beckingham Road, Westborough, on Sunday, September 30.

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Responses to Rector Calls For Unity In Westborough and Park Barn After Fatal Stabbing

  1. Diane Maxfield

    September 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    This is a terrible event, but thankfully rare, which is perhaps why it has caused so much shock amongst the community. People in general are rather to keen to condemn certain areas, in particular, large estates like Westborough and Park Barn. Yes, there are problems, just as there are in other areas. Equally, there are many people who work to create and uphold a good community spirit as is regularly demonstrated by the number of happy community events held in Westborough and Park Barn.

  2. Fiona White

    September 29, 2012 at 7:34 am

    The Rector’s comments are absolutely right. What happened last weekend is a tragedy for everyone involved but it is not typical of Westborough and Park Barn. This is a strong community which has great pride in itself. We need to work together to deal with any problems there are but let’s not lose sight of all the good things happening here.

    • Martin Giles

      September 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      The Guildford Dragon NEWS agrees that it is very important to provide balance in all news reports which is one reason we sought the Rector’s view. We will continue to do our best to report all news as fairly and accurately as possible.
      Reader’s comments, such as Cllr White’s, are very welcome and help achieve a better representation of views on any subject. We would encourage everyone to have their say.