Editor’s comment: Donations are a reminder of JJ’s popularity

Shane Yerrell, left, presents the �4,627 cheque outside JJ's memorial in Milner Square. He is pictur

Shane Yerrell, left, presents the �4,627 cheque outside JJ's memorial in Milner Square. He is pictured with his mum Maria Markham, JJ's girlfriend Kennedy Parker, JJ's mum Michelle McPhillips and Shane's partner David Sparrey. Picture: Catherine Davison - Credit: Archant

As our pictures prove, Jonathon “JJ” McPhillips’ family had something to smile about on Saturday.

That is no small wonder when you consider that their lives were ripped apart so cruelly barely two months ago.

JJ’s children were left without a father when the 28-year-old was stabbed to death yards from Islington Assembly Hall in February. His devastated mother and partner led tributes – but it’s clear it wasn’t just his family’s lives he touched.

Ninety-five people have donated cash for his young daughters’ futures, while 1,000 more helped spread the word by sharing the campaign online. The result? More than £4,600, which was handed over in the Milner Square sunshine.

It won’t just provide for the girls’ future: I am sure their mother and grandmother will do a fantastic job of that regardless. Maybe more valuable than the money itself is the message it sends to the girls.

Of course nothing JJ’s friends and family do will give these children back their father. But Shaun, and the Islington community where JJ grew up, have rallied around to cheer them up in a very bleak year. Perhaps they are too young to understand fully what was done for them, but in the years to come, as they learn about JJ, I hope they remember Saturday, and that the smiles on our front page help them understand who their dad was.

But there is another legacy JJ’s death can have, too. His family is playing a role in the peace march from Islington to Hackney on Sunday, where grieving parents from both boroughs will unite to say: “Enough is enough.” Marches don’t save lives, but lifesaving projects are born when diverse groups come together with a common goal. I have high hopes for the ideas that come out of Sunday, and the message it sends to our kids: that we will fight for them.

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