Crowds gather in Portsmouth to pay their respects to terrorism attack victims

A police car parked outside Catherine House in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, earlier tonight. Picture: Byron Melton

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TEARS were shed, candles were lit and poignant messages were read out as hundreds of people gathered to show their solidarity with France.

A candlelit vigil took place in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, at 5pm yesterday.

A candlelit vigil was held in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth for those who lost their lives in Paris terrorist attacks.  Picture: Sarah Standing (151931-2691)

A candlelit vigil was held in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth for those who lost their lives in Paris terrorist attacks. Picture: Sarah Standing (151931-2691)

Images of all those who lost their lives in last week’s terrorist attacks were shown on the Big Screen and candles were lit on the steps of the Guildhall, which was lit up in the French Tricolore colours.

Dignitaries, such as Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Frank Jonas and council leader Donna Jones, were joined by six members of the French Navy.

Lieutenant Florentin Dhellemmes, 30, from Brest, said the situation was very close to him as his sister’s friend had been shot in the leg during the Paris attacks.

Lt Dhellemmes, who is based at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, said: ‘We need to show them that we can live our lives without fear and that we will keep going on. We will not fear their barbarism.’

Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire & Isle of Wight Simon Hayes was also there to pay his respects.

Mr Hayes said: ‘I joined the vigil to pay tribute and to remember those who died in Paris a week ago today.

‘To remember those who grieve friends and loved ones and to remember the bravery of the French police who protected people on that evening.’

He said it was ‘difficult to find an adjective’ to describe how awful the attacks were.

Cllr Jones said the vigil also marked those who died in attacks in Sinai, Mali and Lebanon.

She said the attacks were ‘very worrying’ although she praised the people of Portsmouth for turning out.

She said: ‘It is a cold November evening and getting 200 people here is testament to how strongly people in this city feel.’

In the crowd was Marine Joly, 38, who is originally from Paris but now lives in Southsea. She was with her parents Danielle, 62, and Jean-Michel, 60, who were visiting the city for two days.

They were not able to make services in Paris, so instead paid their respects at the Portsmouth vigil.

Ms Joly said: ‘We are deep in shock.’

Husband and wife Martin and Pam Neil, from Copnor, were in the crowd.

Mrs Neil, 62, said: ‘It is so sad. I don’t want to get mad or retaliate but something has got to happen, we can’t keep going on like this.’

Council workers and married couple Linda Jacobs, 59, and David Giles, 60, from Old Portsmouth, stopped by after work.

Mr Giles said: ‘It is scary, but the terrorists won’t prevail because hate and anger never does.’