“WE will come back stronger from this and we will not let hatred divide us”.

That’s the message from one community leader who joined several more in coming together to pay their respects for the victims of the Reading stabbings earlier today.

A vigil was held at 11am on Monday (June 22) for the three people who tragically passed away following the Forbury Gardens terror attack.


Religious, political and community leaders gathered to place flowers by Forbury Gardens after passing through Abbey Gate.

Olivia Graham, Bishop of Reading, led the vigil.

Reading Chronicle:

She told the Chronicle: “It’s been a shock for the whole community and people are together waking up and realising actually, after the shock comes a deep sense of loss, and trauma, and wondering how we are going to mend back from this.

“I’m really confident having been here today and knowing what I do of Reading, which is a wonderful, multi-cultural, diverse, friendly place, that we will come back stronger from this and we will not let hatred divide us.”

A packed media crowd watched the groups make their way through Abbey Gate.

The first group also featured Reading East MP Matt Rodda, Mayor David Stevens, Reading West MP Alok Sharma, and Reading Borough Council leader Jason Brock.

Reading Chronicle:

Cllr Brock told the Chronicle of his shock such a shocking incident could take place at Forbury Gardens: “The gardens are so special to all of us, aren’t they? They’re a place you go to relax, you go to socialise.

Reading Chronicle:

“We’ve all got fond memories of being in Forbury so it just makes it all the more traumatising for all of us because we identify so strongly with the place.

“Moving forward there’s work for the council to do working the community to ensure they feel re-assured, and bringing our partners including the police to make sure we do the best we can for Reading’s residents.”

Reading East MP Matt Rodda attended a minute’s silence on Broad Street an hour before the vigil took place.

Reading Chronicle:

He later spoke at the vigil to “pay tribute to the community.”

Mr Rodda added: “People are showing their support for one another and are from completely different backgrounds, different communities, all joining together to show their support for the families of the people who have lost their lives and those who were injured.

“This was a spontaneous show of support which was absolutely incredible. I think it shows the strength of our community.”

One of the victims who sadly passed away was James Furlong, a history teacher at The Holt School in Wokingham.

Shahid Younis is a former Wokingham borough councillor and he was part of the inter-faith group which helped organise the vigil in mere “hours”.

Reading Chronicle:

He told the Chronicle the incident was “senseless” and “tragic.”

“Reading is a great town, it’s a great place to work, live and bring up your family. It is not known for these tragic incidents. It’s really shocking to see this happen to the town.

“You can see the whole town is really in mourning at the moment.

“So it’s great to see so many people across all political spectrums, across all faith groups, to come and show their respect.”