Artists hope Shoreham crash memorial will help people ‘acknowledge’ their grief
Jane Fordham and David Parfitt were in the town at the time of the crash visiting their favourite patisserie.
The artists behind a permanent tribute for the victims of the Shoreham Airshow crash have spoken of their memories of being nearby at the time of the disaster.
Eleven men died when a vintage Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the A27 in West Sussex during the Shoreham Airshow on August 22 2015.
Artists Jane Fordham and David Parfitt were in the town at the time of the crash visiting their favourite patisserie.
Speaking ahead of the third anniversary of the deaths – which is on Wednesday – the husband and wife duo said they wanted to create a place where mourners could “acknowledge” their grief.
The pair were putting together the finishing touches of the design in a studio in Portslade near Brighton on Friday.
Ms Fordham said: “We go to Shoreham a lot and we were in the town at the time the crash happened. It was a total shock.
Mr Parfitt said: “It was unbelievable, tragic.”
The victims were Maurice Abrahams, Dylan Archer, Anthony Brightwell, Matthew Grimstone, Matthew Jones, James Mallinson, Mark Reeves, Jacob Schilt, Richard Smith, Mark Trussler and Daniele Polito.
The installation is expected to begin in September but could take months to assemble.
We have set out to make a space for people to grieve in their own way and offer a place for reflection Jane Fordham
It is hoped to be completed by the end of the year.
Authorities spent years planning a fitting permanent tribute to the victims, asking relatives to pick the final design.
A bench will be placed on the banks of the River Adur near 11 arches by the entrance to the Shoreham Toll Bridge – where mourners flocked in the wake of the disaster to leave flowers.
This will overlook a subtle light installation on the opposite side of the river.
Ms Fordham hopes the creation, which does not resemble a traditional monument, will be more personal.
Each arch will be individual, to represent the different personalities of each of the victims.
The artists have spent the last two years getting to know the families and their loved ones.
The four-metre high stainless steel arches will stand on a circular marble mosaic consisting of thousands of pieces, which will take weeks to assemble by hand.
The design is inspired by the river which runs alongside the site.
Mr Parfitt: “We are understanding as much as we can about the victims.
“We are learning about those little memories or objects that are important to somebody which we are then interpreting into the design.
“Some of those references will be secret but the families will know they are there and know what they mean.”
Ms Fordham added: “We have set out to make a space for people to grieve in their own way and offer a place for reflection.”
The memorial was funded by money raised by council officers and donations from neighbouring authorities and businesses.
Pilot Andrew Hill has denied charges of manslaughter by gross negligence and recklessly or negligently endangering an aircraft under air navigation laws.
The 54-year-old is due to stand trial in January.