Airshow tragedy: ‘We will never forget’

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A memorial has been unveiled to the airshow tragedy victims ahead of Monday’s one-year anniversary events.

A granite stone bearing a plaque now sits in Headborough Gardens, in South Street, Lancing, surrounded by 11 young trees, each representing a life lost. For details of planned memorial events, click here.

The decision to instal a memorial at Lancing, the village in which the disaster happened, was made in October last year.

The Lancing Parish Council project was run by then councillor Doris Martin, who volunteered to lead the scheme and gain support from local businesses, to show that the whole community was behind the idea.

At the next meeting of the council’s amenities and environment committee, councillors decided to instal a memorial plaque.

The trees were planted in the spring as a plan was formed for a low-key ceremony, with close relatives of the victims to be invited for the unveiling when the stone and plaque were ready. The ceremony, complete with a service of dedication conducted by the Rev Gabrielle Britton Voss, was held at the end of July.

Councillor Ann Bridges said: “The families came and were very pleased with the trees and were invited to choose a tree if they wished. It was a lovely, touching ceremony in a green and peaceful setting, with a really nice atmosphere.

“The councillors present and the families then went for a delicious afternoon tea at the WRVS café,

which opened specially for this occasion.”

The ceremony was not publicised beforehand as a mark of respect to the victims’ relatives. Councillor James Butcher, who was chairman of the parish council last August, said: “What happened last August rocked our village and will go down as one of the darkest days in our history. We will never forget what happened and those we lost and I hope in some small way that these 11 trees and the dedication are an expression of that. My thanks to Doris Martin and John Hollington who both made this possible”.

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