TIM LOUGHTON: Community to remember crash victims

On Monday we will come together again to remember the eleven victims of the Shoreham Airshow crash one year on.

Tim Loughton
Tim Loughton

I have no doubt that this will again be an emotional time, not just for the immediate family and friends but for the local community as a whole, whose outpouring of empathy and support was one of the most humbling aspects of last year’s tragedy.

One of the most impressive aspects of that was the work of the volunteers and in particular the team who came together spontaneously to tend to the sea of flowers which engulfed the Old Toll Bridge.

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They were wonderfully led by Shoreham resident Suzanne Heaven and last week I joined Suzanne, fellow volunteer Elaine Crees and local councillors Emma Evans and Debbie Kennard to visit the County Records office at Chichester.

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Because of their foresight and hard work most of the messages, cards and notes which accompanied the flowers were preserved for posterity and have been painstakingly conserved and placed in albums as part of the county’s records.

It was no mean feat to rescue over 1,900 items given the appalling weather conditions which followed the crash yet which did little to dent the supportive activities of local people.

Every item has also been digitally recorded and can be viewed through the county website, with some restrictions over personal messages from close family who have been invited to see the work and give their thoughts, and I gather this has been well received.

The painstaking work has been made possible by another energetic team of volunteers working at the Public Records Office under county archivist Wendy Walker and this innovative project is attracting national attention for how we record such significant yet tragic events.

The care and attention to detail by Wendy and her team has been exemplary and no one can have been unaffected by the emotional implications of their important work.

Well done to Adur District Council who dealt swiftly with an illegal traveller encampment on Southwick Green last weekend, something that has been mercifully rare this year as the effect of the new transit camp and greater use of police section 61 and 62 powers comes into being.

After a spate of reports of anti-social behaviour and mess the uninvited visitors were gone within 24 hours and a clean-up completed by 8.15pm on the Saturday night.

• If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at [email protected]


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