AN MP murdered by the IRA 25 years ago today will be in the prayers of his former constituents, the vicar at the church he attended has said.

Eastbourne MP Ian Gow was killed by an IRA car bomb outside his house in Hankham on July 30 1990.

While no major memorial event is being held to mark the 25th anniversary, Reverend Jeffrey Gunn of St Saviour’s Church said the MP would be in his thoughts and prayers today.

And his widow Dame Jane Whiteley will join former colleagues at an intimate memorial where she will officially name the Brighton and Hove bus dedicated to his memory.

Eastbourne Borough councillor Colin Belsey said his "brilliant" and "much-loved" close friend could have been Prime Minister but for his murder.

He said he will mark the 25th anniversary at a "celebration and a commemoration" event at a fellow councillor’s house in Eastbourne along with Mr Gow's widow Dame Jane, his former parliamentary secretary and 30 close friends.

He added: “We will make it a good day and remember Ian as it might be the last one, for the 50th anniversary many of us won’t be around for.”

Coun Belsey said he did not hold out much hope of his killer ever being brought to justice so many years on.

He said: “It is a shame that no-one was caught at the time.

“I suspect what might happen is one day somebody will die and the IRA will say that was the person who did it.

“It could drive you round the bend if you didn’t just try and move on with your life.”

Mr Gow was a regular worshipper at St Saviour’s Church and three Victorian stained-glass windows funded by a public appeal stand in the church in his memory.

Rev Gunn said: “There isn’t a formal memorial event planned, we did our major event when we dedicated the stained glass windows to Ian, but he will be remembered in our prayers.

“Ian was a man who gave so much to Eastbourne.

“It is important to remember the positive things that happened, Ian was a brilliant MP for the area and that how people will remember him, as a fantastic MP.”

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, who led the campaign for a parliamentary memorial to his friend, said: “Ian's death was a huge loss to public life and a tragedy for all who knew him. "Twenty-five years on, he continues to be remembered with great fondness and admiration.”