Helicopter crash victim was ‘full of love’, says father in heartfelt tribute

Becky Dobson, 26, from Worthing, who lost her life in the Grand Canyon helicopter tragedy. Picture courtesy of Miss Dobson's family
Becky Dobson, 26, from Worthing, who lost her life in the Grand Canyon helicopter tragedy. Picture courtesy of Miss Dobson's family

The father of Becky Dobson has described her as ‘full of love’ after she lost her life along with her boyfriend and his brother when a helicopter crashed in the Grand Canyon.

The 26-year-old was on the holiday of a lifetime to Las Vegas for her partner Stuart Hill’s 30th birthday when the couple, and Stuart’s brother Jason, lost their lives in the helicopter crash, which happened in the Grand Canyon in Arizona on Saturday.

Becky Dobson, 26, and Stuart Hill, 30, from Worthing. Picture courtesy of Miss Dobson's family

Becky Dobson, 26, and Stuart Hill, 30, from Worthing. Picture courtesy of Miss Dobson's family

Speaking exclusively to the Herald, Peter Dobson described his daughter as ‘full of love and very caring’.

He said: “We are pleased she was at a good point in her life; she had it all sorted out. Whenever she was with us, if we were all together she added an extra spark to the occasion.

“She just always seemed to look on the happy side of things.”

Mr Dobson, 61, and his wife Jane, 57, were in Istanbul in Turkey with their son Mark, 30, and his fiancée Sine to meet her family when the tragedy happened.

They got on the first plane back to England when they heard the ‘horrendous’ news. He said: “We were totally shocked. We couldn’t believe it; we still can’t believe it. It always happens to someone else, not someone you know.

“Becky went off to Vegas, and the next day we went off to Istanbul. It was supposed to be a nice time for all of us.”

According to Mr Dobson, his daughter had been seeing Stuart for around three years. He described him as ‘a really great boyfriend’: “He would take her out places and take her for nice dinners; he really spoiled her. She loved that: going out and getting dressed up. He was a really nice guy.

“They were a great couple; they would have had a good life together. They had everything sorted out: Stuart had a good career, and Becky was working on her dog grooming. They had everything going for them.”

While Becky was working at Vets4Pets in Lyon’s Farm, Worthing, as a receptionist and a trainee vetinary assistant, she was also doing a dog grooming course in Eastbourne.

Mr Dobson said shortly before she went to Vegas, Becky found out she had passed all her exams with distinctions and planned to start her own business.

An avid fan of animals since she was a girl, Becky learnt to ride horses at age 14 when she volunteered at the Ferring Country Centre, in Rife Way, Ferring, in exchange for teaching people with learning difficulties.

Her passion continued into adulthood, and at weekends Mr Dobson said she loved nothing more than riding her horses, which she did as part of a horse share, and in winter she would go up early to muck out the stables.

Another hobby allowed Becky to use her creative side, according to her father. He said: “Something everyone remembers her by was the way she painted her nails. She was absolutely obsessed; she did these incredible designs herself. We used to laugh, because even if she went up the stables to muck out the horses, her nails had to be perfect.”

Becky also liked to travel, having spent a year in Australia four years ago. Mr Dobson said it reflected her determination and ability to get on with people, as she initially was meant to be going for three months with a friend who then pulled out, but decided to still go by herself. She ended up making lots of friends and extending her trip, working as an au pair for an Italian family in Sydney.

Mr Dobson said she was a brilliant aunt to her sister Nicola’s son Ethan, three, and she was able to meet her 32-year-old sibling’s daughter Evelyn, who was born in January.

He said: “Ethan thought the absolute world of his aunty Becky, and she had a chance to see the baby, which was really important to her.”

On Friday at 6pm, a candle-lit service of prayer will be held for Becky and Stuart and Jason Hill at St Matthew’s Church in Tarring Road, Worthing, which both families plan to attend.

Tributes were paid by Worthing College, where the trio all studied, as well as their employers.

Mr Dobson said the outpouring of support from the community had been ‘fantastic’: “Everyone has been so nice, and her friends have been so supportive.”

The two families have been in contact since the tragedy, and Mr Dobson said they will ‘carry on seeing each other and giving support to’ David and Sandra Hill, the brothers’ parents.

The Rev David Hill, a chaplain at Worthing Hospital, paid tribute to his ‘wonderful sons’ on Tuesday, saying they will be ‘deeply missed by so many, many people’.