Funeral of Jonathon ‘JJ’ McPhillips: Islington lays one of its own to rest
Hundreds line the streets to say final goodbye to 28-year-old father-of-two
31 March, 2017 — By Joe Cooper
Michelle McPhillips carries her son’s coffin into the hearse
A BAGPIPER played in Milner Square this morning as hundreds of people gathered to say goodbye to Jonathon ‘JJ’ McPhillips for the final time.
Mourners gathered in the place where he had spent most of his life as the funeral cortege, carried by friends, family, and lastly his mother, Michelle, did a circuit of the square.
Friends of JJ on motorbikes beeped their horns as his coffin made its way to St Mary’s Church, Upper Street, for the service.
It was standing room only as more than 300 people packed in the church to mourn JJ’s death and celebrate his life.
Vicar of St Mary’s Simon Harvey welcomed people to the church and encouraged people to feel their emotions, whether “angry, heartbroken or just empty”.
There were tears and laughter as people remembered the boy who loved speed, motorbikes and music.
“We are here to give thanks for the good things – to remember before God the person you knew as a friend, as a son, an uncle, a grandson, a partner and a dad,” Rev Harvey said.
JJ, 28, was fatally stabbed outside Islington Assembly Hall on Saturday, February 25. He tried to run home but collapsed on the pavement, where his mother rushed to his side.
“Just yards from our front door he breathed his last,” Rev Harvey said. “In the same arms as he was born, cradled with love and tears.”
Dean Donaghey read a poem to JJ and later, made a heartfelt speech about JJ’s last moments.
“270 steps with a fatal wound,” he said. “270 steps for the willingness for life, 270 steps for the determination just to live, 270 steps for him try to survive, 270 steps for himself and his family, this was Jonathan James McPhillips – a true warrior.”
There were tributes, songs and memories – good and bad – from JJ’s friends and family, including a moving recorded message from his young daughters, Lexi and Evie.
The cremation took place this afternoon at Islington Crematorium.