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Friday 20 January 2017

Families share grief at service for Cork air crash victims

Michael Carr

Published 21/03/2011 | 05:00

Anne Marie McAleese, wife of victim Brendan, with survivor Heather Elliott at a memorial ceremony for the six victims held in Cork, yesterday
Anne Marie McAleese, wife of victim Brendan, with survivor Heather Elliott at a memorial ceremony for the six victims held in Cork, yesterday

AFTER surviving the air crash that killed six people, Mark Dickens is understandably reluctant to fly.

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Nonetheless, he travelled from England -- by car and ferry -- to attend a memorial service for the victims yesterday.

Mr Dickens, from Kent, was reunited with four other survivors: Peter Cowley from Glanmire, Cork; Donal Walsh from Waterford; Laurence Wilson from Larne, Co Antrim; and Heather Elliott from Cork, at the moving service in the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne in Cork city.

Family members of the six victims of the February 10 crash also attended.

"It wasn't a difficult decision to come, it was just a difficult journey to get here," said Mr Dickens, who still has his right arm in a sling.

"I have some injuries that are taking time to heal, but otherwise I feel OK. The care I received from the people in Cork was amazing, and I'm glad I am here to thank them," he said.

Mr Wilson, who travelled from Larne in Northern Ireland, also decided against flying, taking the train to Cork.

Luckiest

"I believe I am one of the luckiest guys in Northern Ireland to have survived," he said.

Alison Noble, the widow of Richard Noble, travelled from Britain, as did the parents of co-pilot Andrew Cantle, John and Anne. "He loved flying, all he ever wanted to do was fly," Ms Cantle said.

Also present was Anne Marie McAleese, widow of Brendan, who was a cousin of President Mary McAleese's husband, Martin.

The service was celebrated by Bishops John Buckley and Paul Colton, and attended by members of Cork's emergency services, gardai, airport staff and local TDs, including Micheal Martin, Kathleen Lynch and Jerry Buttimer.

Kevin Cullinane, marketing manager at Cork Airport described the feeling amongst staff at the airport as one akin to a "family bereavement".

Mr Cantle, along with his pilot, Jordi Sola Lopez and four passengers, Mr Noble, Mr McAleese, Pat Cullinan, and Michael Evans, died when the commuter flight from Belfast City Airport crashed.

"There are no words that can console those who have lost a loved one," Reverend Adrian Wilkinson, airport chaplain, said.

The sixth survivor was Brendan Mallon from Bangor in Co Down.

Irish Independent

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