A candlelit service was held in memory of 12-year-old Harley Watson who died after being hit by a car which struck several students as they left school.

Members of the community gathered to attend the service held at St John’s Church on Church Lane, Loughton, at 5pm yesterday (Tuesday, December 3).

Reverend Father Chris Davies led the service and other members of the church read passages from the Bible followed by a few moments of silence.

The service concluded with mourners standing within the church grounds for a final prayer for Harley by candlelight.

A memorial service was also held at St John’s Church just hours after the hit and run incident outside Debden Park High School on Willingale Road, Loughton, on Monday, December 3.

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Loughton and Debden residents lit candles in memory of 12-year-old Harley Watson

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Mourners gathered for the memorial service held at St John's Church in Loughton yesterday, December 3

Speaking about tragic event, Father Chris said: “It’s been a difficult 24 hours we had yesterday afternoon we had a service here last night and we saw a number of people.

“I spoke to the school yesterday and evening and then today I have been in the school where they have been handling a very difficult situation fantastically.

“It’s a wonderful school community and I can’t really give enough praise to the staff and the students and the whole school community looking after each other.

“They are coping well.”

Around ten clergy from the churches across the district were on hand at Debden Park High School yesterday to provide comfort and advise to students, many of whom witnessing the hit and run.

An assembly for each year group was held in the morning, which was also conducted by Father Chris.

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Flower tributes were laid outside Debden Park High School

“We are very blessed in having a very close community in different denominations,” he said: “We were there to listen and talk with the students, who were obviously some who were very distressed, some who were in Harley’s year group.”

The Reverend, who has been at St John’s Church for over three years, said that he has not experienced an as devastating as this during his service.

He said: “I know this community has been hit by tragic events before, such as the car accident in August which was very tragic.

“People are looking for answers but sadly we do not have any answers all we can do is come together and come through this.”

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Harley Watson died from his injuries in hospital following the Loughton hit and run incident on Monday, December 2

Two 15-year-old boys, one 13-year-old boy, one 16-year-old girl and a 53-year-old woman were hit by the silver Ka around 3.20pm.

Their injuries are not believed to be life-changing or life-threatening.

The St John’s vicar also praised how residents across Debden and Loughton have come together under such devastating circumstance, saying: “In a world sometimes that seem so divided, it’s really quite humbling and incredible to see our community pull together and comforting each other.

“It’s a very hard thing to do deal with but we will come through and support each other.”

St John’s Church is open seven days a week to anyone who wishes to attend a service or light a candle in Harley Watson’s memory.

Follow them on Twitter @StJohnsLoughton for the latest updates.