Shoreham air crash victims remembered in service on first anniversary


A church service will be held today to remember the 11 men killed in the Shoreham air crash, as the first anniversary of the disaster looms.

Prayers will be said for those who lost their lives when a vintage Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the A27 in West Sussex during the Shoreham Air Show last August 22.

The service, organised by Shoreham Churches Together, will be held at St Mary de Haura Church in Shoreham, led by the Revd Canon Ann Waizeneker.

The Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner, said: "One year on and there will be prayers of remembrance, for the healing of memories, for the injured, for the courage and help offered by emergency services and strangers, and also for those who lost their lives."

The service is being held two days before the first anniversary of the crash, which happened when the 1950s plane failed to pull out of a loop-the-loop manoeuvre during the air show.

On Monday, flowers will be laid and a minute's silence held on the wooden Shoreham Tollbridge, which became a focal point for the community in the crash's aftermath, at 1.22pm - the exact time of the disaster.

Families, emergency service officers and civic leaders are expected to attend. Meanwhile, flags will be flown at half-mast at civic buildings across West Sussex.

West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith said: "Throughout the last year our thoughts have been with the families who lost loved ones.

"This tragedy has had a massive impact on the community and touched so many lives."

It emerged last month that the pilot, Andrew Hill, 52, is being investigated over possible manslaughter by gross negligence. He has been questioned voluntarily under caution by police.

Two compensation claims have so far been settled with the owners of the plane, according to Stewarts Law, the firm representing some of the victims' families.

The disaster prompted the Civil Aviation Authority to ground all Hawker Hunter aircraft and ban vintage jets from performing aerobatics over land.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) published a preliminary report in March which revealed that the organisers of the air show did not know Mr Hill's intended routine.

It was not possible for officials to identify potential hazards before the event without being aware of where the pilot would fly, the special bulletin stated.

A full report into the crash is expected to be released by the AAIB later this year. This year's Shoreham Air Show was cancelled out of respect for victims and their families.

The men who died were: wedding chauffeur Maurice Abrahams, 76, from Brighton; retired engineer James Graham Mallinson, 72, from Newick, near Lewes; window cleaner and general builder Mark Trussler, 54, from Worthing; cycling friends Dylan Archer, 42, from Brighton, and Richard Smith, 26, from Hove; NHS manager Tony Brightwell, 53, from Hove; grandfather Mark Reeves, 53, from Seaford; Worthing United footballers Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, both 23; personal trainer Matt Jones, 24; and Daniele Polito, 23, from Worthing.