Vietnamese community gathers for vigil to honour container lorry victims

Members of the Vietnamese community have gathered in London for a vigil in memory of the 39 people found in a lorry in Essex.

A vigil on Saturday evening was attended by more than one hundred people at the Church of the Holy Name and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in east London.

Candles spelling out “39” were at the foot of the altar ahead of the service in the Catholic church, which has a large Vietnamese congregation.

Bodies found in lorry container
The priest leads the vigil (Yui Mok/PA)

Reverend Simon Nguyen said: “Today we gather to remember the people who have departed.

“These people who used to live among us, who dined with us.

“Today they are no longer with us.”

Bodies found in lorry container
Members of the congregation at the mass prayer and vigil (Yui Mok/PA)

Members of the congregation performed readings as part of the vigil and candles were lit.

Addressing the congregation, Rev Nguyen said: “Yesterday the police in Essex announced all the victims were Vietnamese.

“We show our condolences and sympathies for the people who have lost their lives on the way seeking freedom, dignity and happiness.

“We ask God to welcome them into his kingdom even though some of them were not Catholic but they strongly believed in eternal peace, so we pray for them.

“We pray for those who have lost their sons and daughters, their loved ones at this very challenging time.”

Bodies found in lorry container
View of the congregation (Yui Mok/PA)

On Friday, Essex Police announced that it believed all the victims were Vietnamese after previously stating it was thought they were Chinese.

A spokesperson for Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the incident a “serious humanitarian tragedy” in a statement on Saturday.

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