EXCLUSIVE: Prime Minister visits to meet air crash first responders

The Prime Minister has made a special trip to meet emergency services staff who were among the first on the scene of the Shoreham Airshow disaster and to thank them in person.

Prime Minister David Cameron meets emergency services staff who attended the Shoreham air crash Picture: Georgina Coupe

Yesterday afternoon David Cameron visited the Brighton & Hove Albion training ground in Lancing, which became the base of operations following the tragedy.

The Herald was the only media organisation invited to the event, and was granted an exclusive interview with Mr Cameron.

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He said: “I wanted to come down and pay my respects and give my condolences to the community and to the families who lost loved ones.

Mr Cameron with MP Tim Loughton on The Old Toll Bridge, Shoreham

“But above all today was about coming to meet the emergency services and those who responded so brilliantly and to thank them for the incredible professionalism of what they did.”

Mr Cameron visited the Old Toll Bridge in Shoreham to lay flowers and see the tributes left by the community, which he described as ‘extremely moving’.

He said: “It’s very moving and the response of the community and the people from all over the country who have come to give flowers just shows what incredibly big-hearted, compassionate people the British are.

“Out of these tragedies, which one never wants to happen, always come extraordinary stories and individuals who go above and beyond what’s expected.”

Eleven men – Matt Jones, Matthew Grimstone, Jacob Schilt, Daniele Polito, Mark Trussler, Maurice Abrahams, Mark Reeves, Richard Smith, Dylan Archer, Tony Brightwell and Graham Mallinson – died when a vintage Hawker Hunter jet crashed on the A27 on during the 26th annual Shoreham Airshow on August 22.

The Prime Minister praised the emergency services who he said had handled the recovery process with sensitivity.

“It really is a credit to the emergency services in West Sussex. They’re not the biggest ambulance service or the biggest police service or the biggest fire service but they really did do a brilliant job.

“Not only were they incredibly quick and professional but they were also incredibly sensitive because they were dealing with an obviously horrendous scene but also dealing with people’s loved ones and they did that very sensitively.”

The future of airshows was debated in the Commons on Wednesday, led by East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton.

Mr Cameron said the Government should listen to the experts who were responsible for investigations into the crash.

He added it was important to bear in mind communities had a ‘deep connection’ to airshows like Shoreham’s, which helped people remember the country’s ‘extraordinary heritage in aviation’.

The visit was organised by East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton, who arranged for the emergency services and volunteers who have been collating the messages from the bridge to speak with the Prime Minister.

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