A MEMORIAL service took place last night for a Hampshire boy shot dead in the Newtown school massacre.
Dylan Hockley, who grew up in Eastleigh, became one of 20 pupils killed when crazed gunman Adam Lanza rampaged through Sandy Hook Primary School in Connecticut.
The six-year-old was remembered during a public memorial service in the town when friends, family and well-wishers gathered at Walnut Hill Community Church.
A spokesman from the church said the Hockleys were inviting “the entire community to come and celebrate the life and legacy of their precious little boy”.
The proceeds from a collection were due to go towards the Dylan Hockley Memorial Fund.
As previously reported, Eastleigh mayor Rupert Kyrle has already sent his own letter of condolence to the family as well as to the First Selectman of Newtown, Patricia Llodra.
Cllr Kyrle wrote expressing his “sincere and deepest sympathies” to those involved.
Dylan’s father Ian and his American-born wife Nicole, who gave up her marketing career to become a full-time mum to their two sons, have told how they are trying to come to terms with the tragedy.
They have revealed how their son was “wrapped in the arms” of his teacher Anne Marie Murphy when he died ||and later described Dylan as “our special gorgeous angel”.
Dylan’s older brother Jake, eight, survived the massacre, in which six staff also died.
Former neighbours and friends in Eastleigh spoke of their shock and paid tribute to a “fantastic family” who had left for a bright future.
Prayers have been said for the family at Eastleigh’s St Nicholas Church and Advent candles were lit for them during a special service.
Meanwhile the most powerful gun-rights lobby in the US said it wants to address gun violence by having an armed police officer in every school in the country.
The comments by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which has 4.3million members, came exactly a week after the Connecticut school shooting and were the group’s first substantial ones since the shooting, while pressure has mounted for more measures against gun violence.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said the NRA’s executive vice-president, Wayne LaPierre at a Washington news conference.
He said “the next Adam Lanza”, the 20-year-old responsible for last week’s shooting, is planning an attack on another school.
He blamed the media, video games, films and music videos for exposing children to a violent culture day in and day out.
Mr LaPierre also announced an NRA programme that will develop a model security plan for schools that relies on armed volunteers.
At least two protesters broke up his announcement, despite tight security. One man held up a large red banner that said “NRA killing our kids”. The protesters were taken away by security, shouting that guns in schools are not the answer.
President Barack Obama has demanded “real action, right now” against gun violence and called on the NRA to join the effort.