Funeral for headmaster stabbed at school

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The Independent Online
The eight-year-old son of Philip Lawrence, the headmaster killed by youths outside his school, yesterday paid a moving tribute to his father at his funeral, which was being held more than two months after his death.

The teacher who died of stab wounds last December when he intervened between a pupil and youths outside St George's Roman Catholic School, in Maida Vale, north-west London, was "my daddy, too", Lucien said, standing on a box so he could see over the lectern in Ealing Abbey. He was the youngest of four members of the family to play an active part in the service.

Mr Lawrence's widow, Frances, 47, read a passage from the gospel which spoke of the triumph of love over fear. Of their children, Myfanwy, 19, played a cello elegy by Faure, and Unity, 13, joined Lucien in leading the bidding prayers.

Lucien had written his own prayer, which he read to the congregation of more than 300 mourners, who included staff and pupils of St George's. Copies, with his spelling unaltered, were available at the service.

It was a reminder of how he appealed to the nation days after Mr Lawrence's death, when the family released the boy's letter asking Father Christmas for his father back.

Mrs Lawrence, her daughter Maroushka, 21, and Myfanwy, Unity and Lucien carried single red roses at the service, which was held in the 19th-century church. Philip and Frances Lawrence, who would have celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary last Saturday, were married there and it remains the family's parish church.

Father Michael Hopley, sub-prior of Ealing Abbey, said at the service that Philip Lawrence "was the victim of violence - a violence that was totally alien to his nature because he was a man of peace". He spoke of people who "have given their lives that someone else might live".

A private burial ceremony was held after the service. Two youths are to appear in court in connection with Mr Lawrence's death and a related assault allegation. Five others are on police bail.

Lucien, 8, pays tribute to father

This is Lucien Lawrence's prayer which he gave at his father's funeral yesterday:

"God in Heaven, help us to think for a minite about the time when we all met my daddy.

"Help us to think of his kindness. Not only was he a headmaster but he was my daddy to.

"I remember the time he bort me something ... even thow it was too exspensif.

"The time he lernt me to spell words. How gentle he was.

"We played football in the hallway ... even when he had lots of work to do.

"Lord, in your mercy ... " he said, before pausing for the congregation to recite the response.

He continued: "Loving God, help us to pray that we will meet my daddy again.

"Let us say together: Hail Mary, full of grace ..."

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