Tributes paid to Mourne helicopter crash victims

Media caption,
South Down MP Margaret Ritchie: "The reaction is one of shock and horror and despair"

Friends and colleagues have been paying tribute to the three men who died in the Mourne Mountains helicopter crash at the weekend.

Charles Stisted, Ian Wooldridge, and their pilot died when the aircraft hit the Mourne Mountains on Saturday.

The men, who were from from south-east England, were in Northern Ireland for a day of shooting in County Fermanagh.

Mr Stisted, 47, from Windsor Great Park in Egham, Surrey, was a personal friend of the Prince of Wales.

Image caption,
Charles Stisted was chief executive of the Guards Polo Club at Windsor

Clarence House said Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the princes William and Harry were "shocked and deeply saddened" by news of the crash.

A spokesperson said: "Their Royal Highnesses' thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed at this dreadful time."

Mr Wooldridge, from Windlesham, Surrey, together with his brother Graham, 50, ran a £40m-a-year demolition and construction company.


Mr Stisted was also chief executive of the Guards Polo Club at Windsor of which Mr Wooldridge was also a member.

The club's chairman, Colonel Paul Belcher, said Mr Stisted, had been "highly regarded" and "much loved".

"He will be much missed by everyone at Guards Polo Club".

He sent the club's deepest sympathies to Mr Stisted's family.

Colonel Belcher said Mr Wooldridge was a "popular player and generous supporter of the club".

"Our thoughts and sympathy are, of course, also with his wife Tandy and their children," he said.

Tributes have also come from Harcourt Developments, the Irish property company involved in the development of the Titanic Quarter in Belfast.

Mr Wooldridge was a prominent figure in the Dublin-based company and staff knew Mr Sisted through the firm's sponsorship of polo's prestigious Queen's Cup.

Image caption,
Ian Wooldridge was pictured alongside the Queen at a polo event last year

A member of Harcourt's staff said: "Charlie was an enigmatic and well-respected individual who we got to know through our sponsorship of the Queen's Cup."

"Ian's experience and judgment were valued by all in Harcourt/ Titanic Quarter and his contribution will be sorely missed.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with both families at this tremendously difficult time."

The helicopter was returning to England following a shooting expedition.

Air accident investigators will catalogue and remove evidence. A police spokesman said significant resources were dedicated to the recovery.

The helicopter is believed to have taken off from Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, and crashed at about 1600 BST in an area known locally as Leitrim Lodge, between Hilltown and Rostrevor.

The medium-sized Agusta helicopter, capable of carrying up to eight people, was based at Redhill in Surrey, with a US registration.

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