Work to create a permanent memorial to those who died in the Shoreham Airshow Disaster has reached a significant milestone with work now underway on site.
Adur District Council has commissioned local artists David Parfitt and Jane Fordham to create a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives in the tragic incident in August 2015.
The centrepiece will be 11 individually crafted arches, one for each of the victims, which will be positioned on the east bank of the River Adur near the iconic Shoreham Tollbridge.
Ahead of installation taking place in the autumn, contractors began preparatory work this week meaning the memorial is beginning to take shape.
Speaking on site about the work, David said: “We’ve reached a milestone moment with the memorial as the concrete base has been installed and a path created which will allow disabled access to the site.
“The surface of the concrete will be mosaic and constructed using a combination of pale natural stones, which will be one of the things will be working on next.
“We also hope to encourage the planting to naturally form around the site so it will nestle in nicely with its wider environment.”
The concept of an installation on the banks of the river was chosen by the families of the victims, who have been critical to the design process as the scheme has developed.
Jane and David have spent the past few weeks working with each of the victim’s families to ensure the design of each of the metal arches reflects the personality of their loved one.
Jane said: “We’ve been doing a lot of the behind the scenes work. Although we are on site now and there are foundations down, what we’ve been doing most of recently is meeting with the families and being in contact with everybody to begin making the designs for each arch.
“All the drawings are in now in process and we’ll be sending them back to the families little by little. That will give us the information we need to build the profiles for the arches and then we can go into the production phase in the coming weeks.”
Each arch will be about four-metres high and positioned close together on a concrete base to create a framed view onto the tranquil riverbank.
A specially designed memorial bench is to be installed close by allowing people to sit and reflect.
On the west side of the river a series of small points of light, again numbering eleven, will hang on reed-like structures swaying gently in the wind.
Councillor Emma Evans, Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said:
“The Shoreham Airshow disaster had a profound effect not only on those families who lost loved ones but the wider community.
“Jane and David have created a wonderful piece of outdoor art which will not only be a fitting tribute to the victims but accessible to all when they visit this beautiful environment.”
The money for the sculptures was raised by officers of Adur District Council and included donations from the Council, Worthing Borough Council, West Sussex County Council, Brighton and Hove City Council and local businesses.