Church of England Diocese of Guildford Dunsfold


16 Aug 2021, 10:15 a.m.

The parish priest of Keyham has said he would like his church to do more to support mental health work in the community.

Five people, including a three-year-old girl, were killed in a mass shooting in the Plymouth suburb on Thursday, before the 22-year-old gunman, Jake Davison, turned the gun on himself.

Father David Way led prayers for the victims: Maxine Davison, Sophie Martyn, Lee Martyn, Stephen Washington and Kate Shepherd during the Sunday service at St Thomas’ Church.

He also prayed for peace for their killer, who lived locally and had expressed feelings of anger and extremism on social media.

Speaking after the service, Father David said: “At the moment there are a lot of wounded people about, like St Thomas we need to reach out and touch them so as to show God’s love and our love for them.

“We want people to know that we are here, particularly at this time I would like to see us helping people with mental health issues.

“I would be very interested in talking to any support groups that might like to use our building.”

Two candles, lit during Friday night’s vigil for the victims at Plymouth’s North Down Crescent Park, were placed at the front of the church for the service, alongside floral tributes.

A special prayer for Keyham, written by the Bishop of Exeter, was read out. The Prayer of St Francis, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace, was also sung.

Father David said the sentiment of the song was particularly relevant and it was important for people to avoid “a cycle of anger” as they processed what had happened.

Ben Otley, a licensed lay worker for the parish, said “I think what has happened highlights the importance of a parish church in a community to support that community.

“We have been able to invite people to come and have tea and coffee, to light a candle, we have been here to talk, to be a reassuring presence.”