Today the Slough Times witnessed the final departure of a much loved and respected Slough man Philmore Leonard Mills of Tamar Way, Langley. Philmore Mills had a wife and 4 daughters.
The funeral service was held in the town centre church of St Mary's in Church Street.
As the hearse carrying the body of Philmore arrived at the church, accompanied by his grieving family, a few mourners stood outside in the freezing cold.
Pallbearers Kyian Browne, Dean Benjamin, Steven Gumbs and a family friend came outside to carry Philmore's coffin into the funeral service. The family group followed.
On entering the church on this bitterly cold day, the Slough Times was amazed to see hundreds and hundreds of mourners inside. Every seat was taken. At the back of the church, mourners were packed in tighter than sardines in a can, the Slough Times can testify. We estimate there were 600 mourners.
The service was conducted by Rev Cecil Boyd, a close friend of Philmore since boyhood. In a powerful and stirring speech Rev Boyd spoke straight from his heart without the need for notes. Rev Boyd described Philmore as a kind and gentle person and added he, like the congregation, wanted Justice for Philmore.
Rachel, Philmore's eldest daughter, delivered her speech followed by those of her 3 younger sisters.
The mourners sang hymns including How Great Thou Art, Blessed Assurance, The Lord is My Shepherd and a roof-raising and very powerful Amazing Grace. Tears could be seen on mourners' faces as they sung with emotion and passion what will be seen by many as a hymn for the civil rights of Philmore Leonard Mills who died so tragically in police custody.
After the church service, a smaller service was held at Slough Crematorium in Stoke Road conducted by the Rev Cecil Boyd. This was also attended by boyhood school friends including very distraught people. It was a sad event as evidenced by the distress and crying of mourners as the curtains closed on Philmore's coffin.
A wake was held at Slough Cricket Club next to Upton Court Park, in Upton Court Road. It was well attended by hundreds of friends. Everyone wished Philmore was alive today. He was but only in their thoughts and fond memories. There is a gradually increasing demand for Justice for Philmore
Today, Friday 3 February 2012, was a sad and difficult day for Philmore's family and friends. On this bitterly cold day, lit by bright winter sunlight, friends from all sections of the community came together in a dignified tribute to a much loved husband, father and friend.
The ringing words in the spontaneous narration of the Rev Cecil Boyd at St Mary's Church that Philmore was my friend. will remain long in the memories of many.
Philmore Leonard Mills,
16 October 1954 - 27 December 2011