Nearly 300 people turned out last night to pay their respects to a shopkeeper who was tragically killed last weekend.

Family, friends, and members of the public, gathered at a candlelight vigil outside Rota Express at 7pm; exactly a week after Vijay Patel, 49, was attacked inside his shop in Mill Hill on January 6, after he refused to serve underage customers.

Mr Patel’s wife, Vibha, was able to watch the vigil from back home in India and she said she was so “grateful” for everybody there.

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Mr Patel’s brother, Prakash, was at the vigil alongside fellow family members, while police were on hand to prevent the large crowd from spilling into the road.

The service ran for around half an hour as the community came as one to light candles, before holding a minutes silence. Many, including Mr Patel's closest family made their way to Hartley Hall, just yards from the shop, to pay further respects, where local community members provided hot drinks.

Prakash Patel, Vijay’s younger brother, and Mr Patel's nephew, Rushi, 16, from Slough said they hope Mill Hill will "never have to see something like this again".

“We need to learn to be peaceful. This can’t happen again. My brother was very hard working. All he wanted to do was put the effort in to reward his family.”

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Among the crowd was one of Mr Patel's best friends, Ravilal Gorsia. He said the number of people who came out to support Mr Patel and his family proved how "popular" the father of two was.

“I met Vijay in 2009. He was an incredible man. He would go out of his way, whatever the weather. He always stepped in to help. When I heard, it was a terrible shock for me. 

“This vigil shows how popular he was, more than we ever estimated. I have lost not only a friend but a brother too, and a pillar."

Dr Harsha Jani has liased with the family since Tuesday, the day after Mr Patel died at St Mary's hospital. She also paid tribute to Mr Patel.

“Vijay was a very amicable person, always ready to help. The family were devastated so it is important to connect with them to feel their pain. I’m profoundly grateful to the community who have come out in force to help.”

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The Bishop of Edmonton, Rob Wickham, addressed the crowd before inviting people to take part in a minutes silence.

He said: “My thanks to each of you taking solidarity as the Mill Hill community grieves at a difficult moment in our history. We must honour the shop, Mr Patel, and his family.

“We have an obligation to build Mill Hill and each other in this time of grief. Let’s work together to build this community and celebrate a beautiful life."

The vicar of St Michael and All Angels church, Steven Young, added: “I am just so proud to be a part of this diverse community. We are filling this place where there was an act of darkness with lights and love.”

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The vigil was organised by Adam Metseilaar, a butcher from Stanmore. Mr Metseilaar had only known Mr Patel for six months but he knew straight away when he met him how “happy" a person he was.

He said: “Tonight had to be done. Vijay love his wife dearly and he was just trying to make a living. We needed to bring the community together.”

Mr Metseilaar announced that more than £50,000 has been raised altogether. A fundraising page has raised nearly £30,000 alone. The money will help support the family of Mr Patel (pictured below).

Mr Patel, who lived in Kingsbury, Brent, had "dreams" for his two sons, and the money will be used to support Neel, 20, who is currently studying computer engineering in Australia, and Dhruv, 17, who lives in India, in their further education, as well as his wife's wellbeing.

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It is not yet decided whether the funeral will take place in London or in India.

In February, a memorial service will be held at The Sacred Heart Church in Flower Lane.

The service will take place at 8pm on February 10.

A post-mortem, held at Northwick Park Hospital, gave the provisional cause of Mr Patel's death as head injuries.

A 16 year old boy has been charged with Mr Patel's murder.

Two boys, 16 and 15, who were arrested on Wednesday have been bailed.