Saturday 22nd August 2015

On the afternoon of Saturday 22nd August 2015, the annual airshow at Shoreham-on-Sea was in full swing. Crowds had gathered and were enjoying the warm summer sunshine, looking at vintage aircraft and enjoying the displays by the aeroplanes flying overhead.

At 1:20pm that afternoon, everything changed.

If you are outside of the UK, you may have seen details on the news of the tragedy that unfolded that day; if you are in the UK, you cannot have avoided the events that happened.

During a display, a 1950s Hawker Hunter failed to exit a looping manoeuvre, crashing instead on a trunk road, killing an estimated eleven people.

In the days since this tragic event, there has been an outpouring of emotion from the local community and those across the UK, and, in my small way, I wanted to offer up my own tribute to those who lost their lives so suddenly.

At the point of writing, the identities of all those missing have not been confirmed. However, tributes have been laid on the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge, somewhere I have photographed on a number of occasions, and which is within a few hundred yards of where the plane ended up.

Matt Jones, Matthew Grimstone, Jacob Schilt, Maurice Abrahams and Mark Reeves are those whose loss been confirmed so far, and I bow my head in your memory.

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Again, at time of going to press, the road – the A27 – looks set to reopen again, after the recovery, forensic and repair operations have been completed. When I visited the bridge earlier this week, however, there was little more than an eerie silence and a row of emergency service vehicles parked up where normally traffic would be speeding past at 70mph.

As with any event of this nature, there has been a high level of media interest, with a Sky News report on the scene as I passed and communication vans from a variety of other television channels around.

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One presence I was surprised by, but which I welcomed, was the Samaritans. The support group where there to help those affected by the tragedy both in flyer form and also in person.

The plane crash was one of those events that you wish would never happen again, but which, oddly, has brought an already tight community closer together.

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