Leicester

Leicester City helicopter crash: Memorial garden opens

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's image in garden
Image caption Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was among the five people who died in the crash a year ago

A memorial garden dedicated to the five people killed in the Leicester City helicopter crash has opened on the site of the disaster.

The garden, opened on the crash's first anniversary, is named after the club's chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who was among those who died.

It was grown using compost made from the floral tributes left at the site.

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy said the garden would show people "the type of person" Mr Vichai was.

On 27 October 2018 the chairman's helicopter crashed shortly after taking off, killing all those on board.

Kaveporn Punpare and Nusara Suknamai, members of Mr Vichai's staff, and pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Roza Lechowicz also died when the helicopter spiralled out of control after taking off from the club's stadium.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Jamie Vardy (right) said he hoped the garden would be somewhere people could come to remember Mr Vichai

On Sunday there was a private, multi-faith ceremony at the Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Garden, attended by players and members of the victims' families.

The garden, which is outside the King Power Stadium, was then opened to the public at 14:00 GMT.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The garden took more than three weeks to build
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Fans have been paying their respects
Image caption Tributes have been sealed into this well, which is believed to have been built on the spot where Mr Vichai died

Vardy visited the site while the garden was still being built.

He said: "We want to carry on that legacy that Khun Vichai wanted. This is his garden, we want to be here paying respects - not just Leicester fans but opposition fans and hopefully it will tell you what type of person he was.

"He gave so much to the football club and the city. He really, really was generous and deep down he was a really lovely guy - he always made us smile."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Flowers left outside the stadium in the days after the crash were composted and used in the memorial garden

Cliff Ginnetta, chairman of the official supporters club, said: "It's a tranquil corner where anyone can go and sit and reflect. They've got it right again.

"It's a tribute to what he's done. When he took over we were all, 'who is this guy?', but they came in and slowly transformed [the club].

"It was such a dark day and credit to his family, they have carried on. In tragic circumstances you could lose some of that fight and enthusiasm but they've carried on in his name."

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said in December cockpit pedals had disconnected from the helicopter's tail rotor.

Inquests into the deaths have been opened and adjourned, but will not be held until the AAIB report is complete.

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