John Lennon fans to mark 30th anniversary of death

Hometown Liverpool to stage several events honouring former Beatle killed outside New York apartment on 8 December 1980

Fans of John Lennon will mark the passing of 30 years since he was murdered outside his New York apartment, triggering a wave of grief around the world.

In Liverpool, home city of the Beatles, several events will honour the singer and political activist, with local musicians leading a candlelit vigil in Chavasse Park at the European peace monument, dedicated to Lennon on 9 October, which would have been his 70th birthday.

Further homage may be paid at the Lennon statue in Mathew Street, home of the Cavern, where the Beatles played some of their early gigs, and at the original Strawberry Field, above.

On Thursday a concert – Lennon Remembered: The Nine Faces of John – will be held at Liverpool's Echo Arena, to bring to a close the city's two-month Lennon tribute season.

Members of the Quarrymen, his first band, will play to celebrate the life of the boy they had known at Quarry Bank school.

"We're playing not to mark his death, but to celebrate his life," said Rod Davis, banjo player with the Quarrymen, who had known John since they were five years old at Sunday school. "To talk too much of his death casts a shadow. There's more than a bit of sadness this week, so we'll be trying to focus on celebrating the John we knew."

As they have every year since Lennon's death, fans are likely to gather in front of the Dakota building in Manhattan, where he was shot. Others will mark the day at a candlelit vigil at Central Park's Strawberry Fields, dedicated to the memory of the musician and located directly across from the Dakota Apartments, where Lennon lived with Yoko Ono.

Lennon was shot four times in the back by a crazed fan, 25-year-old Mark Chapman, who hours earlier had asked the former Beatle for his autograph. He lay in wait for the singer, killing him as he arrived home. The security guard from Honolulu, Hawaii remained at the scene until arrested by police, and pleaded guilty to the crime. Since 1981 Chapman has been in jail, serving a sentence of 20 years to life. He has been denied parole six times.

Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty


Alexandra Topping

The GuardianTramp

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