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Tributes left on the 'Bridge of Flowers' after Shoreham disaster will be preserved in community archive

Published 24/09/2015

A woman carries a bunch of flowers to place on a bridge over the river Adur near where a Hawker Hunter fighter jet crashed. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
A woman carries a bunch of flowers to place on a bridge over the river Adur near where a Hawker Hunter fighter jet crashed. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Thousands of flowers, cards, flags, pictures and messages of condolence have been left on the Shoreham Tollbridge (Bridge of Flowers) over the River Adur in West Sussex since 11 men died in the crash.

Now the West Sussex Record Office is working with the Shoreham Recovery Group to set up an archive to preserve the tributes to help remember the lost lives.

Lesley Sim, information services manager at West Sussex County Council, said: "This will include all of the cards and messages left on Shoreham Tollbridge.

"We are currently working to dry and conserve all of these so that they can be preserved together for the future.

"The community archive will be held at the record office in safe, environmentally-controlled conditions where it will be catalogued and made available in the public search room for people to see and use both now and in the years to come."

Prime Minister David Cameron left a floral at the bridge last week to remember those who died when a vintage Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the A27 near Shoreham.

The crash happened during the Shoreham Airshow on August 22 when the plane failed to pull out of a loop-the-loop stunt before crashing and exploding in to a fireball.

An interim report released by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) found "no abnormal indications" during the Hawker Hunter flight.

Investigators also said cockpit cameras showed the 1950s jet "appeared to be responding to the pilot's control inputs".

The victims who died were: wedding chauffeur Maurice Abrahams, 76, from Brighton; retired engineer James Graham Mallinson, 72, from Newick, near Lewes; window cleaner and general builder Mark Trussler, 54, from Worthing; cycling friends Dylan Archer, 42, from Brighton, and Richard Smith, 26, from Hove; NHS manager Tony Brightwell, 53, from Hove; grandfather Mark Reeves, 53, from Seaford; Worthing United footballers Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, both 23; personal trainer Matt Jones, 24; and Daniele Polito, 23, from Worthing.

The inquest into their deaths was opened and adjourned this month by West Sussex senior coroner Penelope Schofield. A pre-inquest review will take place on March 22.

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