Sussex

Shoreham air crash families in 'continuing pain' a year on

(Top row, left to right) Matt Jones, Matthew Grimstone, Jacob Schilt, Maurice Abrahams, Richard Smith. (Bottom row, left to right) Mark Reeves, Tony Brightwell, Mark Trussler, Daniele Polito, Dylan Archer, Graham Mallinson Image copyright BBC/Sussex Police/Facebook
Image caption The men who died were Matt Jones, Matthew Grimstone, Jacob Schilt, Maurice Abrahams, Richard Smith. (Bottom row, left to right) Mark Reeves, Tony Brightwell, Mark Trussler, Daniele Polito, Dylan Archer, Graham Mallinson

Families of 11 men who died when a jet crashed at the Shoreham Air show suffer continuing pain a year after the disaster, a congregation has been told.

The Rev Terry Stratford told a church service to mark the first anniversary that the community shared a sense of loss and bewilderment.

A Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the A27 during an air display on 22 August.

The pilot of the Hawker Hunter, Andy Hill, remains at the centre of a Sussex Police manslaughter investigation.

The final Air Accidents Investigation Branch report into the crash has not yet been published.

Image caption Candles were lit for the 11 men who died on 22 August 2015
Image caption The service was held at St Mary de Haura Church in Shoreham

"There is to be no air show this year and that is absolutely right," Mr Stratford told the congregation of nearly 300 people at St Mary de Haura Church in the West Sussex town.

"But for the families of those who died, some of whom are here this morning, there is the continuing pain of still not knowing the full story of how their loved ones were killed.

"We understand that investigations by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch are continuing, with High Court yet to rule on whether evidence from the plane can be released to the police.

"As much as we might wish otherwise, there seems to be no option but to wait.

"There can be no real moving on until all that can be humanly known about the air crash is revealed and resolved."


Families who attended

Relatives and friends of the 11 victims who attended the service included Leslye Polito, whose 23-year-old son Daniele died.

"The last year I couldn't put into words," she said.

"It's been a rollercoaster. It's a living nightmare. It's all surreal."

Caroline Schilt, whose 23-year-old son Jacob died, said of the service: "It was amazing to organise something like this and to come together.

"It's lovely for the families to share in this awful thing in a strange sort of way."


The Rev Anne Waizenecker began by reading out the names of those who died as family members lit candles in their memory.

The service ended with the congregation lighting tea lights and signing a comments book.

There was also a collection for the Shoreham Air Show fund set up to support the people affected.

Image caption The service was the first event to mark the anniversary of the Shoreham air crash
Image caption Tea lights were lit at the end of the service

Ms Waizenecker said the service was an opportunity for all the churches of Shoreham to offer support to family, friends and the wider community.

The anniversary was "very significant" for the town, she added.

"People are at different stages of how they are feeling.

"It is good this weekend to have these focal points and I think that will be very helpful for the community."

A minute's silence is to be held 13:22 BST on Monday, the exact time of the crash.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the A27 during the air show

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