Essex

Chelmsford lantern tribute to shooting victim John Pordage

Chinese lanterns Image copyright Emily Greenland
Image caption Chinese lanterns were released in memory of John Pordage during a park vigil by his family and friends

More than 100 people gathered to pay tribute to a man a week after he was shot dead at a petrol station.

John Pordage, 34, died after being hit in the chest in Chelmsford, Essex, in the early hours of 5 August.

Chinese lanterns were released into the sky on Saturday night by family and friends at the city's Central Park.

A boy, 16, has been charged with murder, while police said they still needed to trace Bradley Blundell, 17, in connection with the shooting.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption John Pordage "loved making people smile" said his friend Jenny Weeks
Image copyright Faye Stubbings
Image caption Friends read out poems and shared memories of the keen bodybuilder during the night

The lantern vigil was arranged by Mr Pordage's best friend Tom Clyde, together with a group of friends including Jenny Weeks.

"We felt John deserved it as we don't know when the funeral is going to be so it was a chance for us to say our goodbyes," said Ms Weeks.

"It was also a chance for us to show how much John was loved.

"The event was more than just some words on social media - it was nice to physically do something."

Image copyright Dionne Crocker
Image caption During the vigil, balloons in Mr Pordage's initials were released into the sky over Chelmsford

Friends read out poems they had written and made tearful speeches during the sunset event, attended by Mr Pordage's father and brother.

Ms Weeks, 30, of Chelmsford, said the electrician and keen bodybuilder was someone who people "loved being around" and had reunited her with her brother.

"John would have loved the tribute - he loved making people smile and laugh," she said.

She added that an online fundraising page she had set up to help Mr Pordage's family pay for his funeral had gone £6,500 over its original £2,000 target.

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