Family and friends of Sam Diatta gathered outside York Minster this evening (Thursday) to remember a kind man with a big smile.
Sam Diatta, 39, died after an incident at the Mappin & Webb jewellery store in Coney Street on 26 July.
Because of the ongoing police investigation, his family have not been able to hold a funeral. So they organised the vigil, where candles were lit, tributes were paid and songs were sung.
His mother Judy spoke of the walk they’d been on together as a family just hours before Sam died.
“We miss Sam very very much,” she said. “It was so sudden, the way he was taken.
“So when a police officer turned up in the evening at half past six and said there’d been this incident we couldn’t believe it.”
Mrs Diatta spoke of the kindness people had shown since his death.
“We will always hold him in our hearts. And we’re just so amazed at the way he’s touched so many lives.
“We’ve felt so loved and supported, just a very big thank you to everyone.”
How special he was
Sam’s sister Teba said: “We’re just so very grateful for everyone who’s turned up tonight. They’ve come after a long day’s work, just to show how special my brother was to them.
“It means the world to me and my family that people have had the idea of putting on this vigil.
“We’ve had over 150 cards, we’ve had 25 bouquets of flowers, people stopping us in the street, coming up and giving us hugs.
“It’s really helping us get through this awful time.
“We could never in a million years have imagined this could have happened to our Sam.”
One of his friends paid tribute to Sam at the vigil, talking of his kindness and his sporting talent.
But the thing he would most remember, he said, “was his smile – and he always had time for people.
“He will be deeply missed.”