Bury Rugby Club unveils memorial to its 1974 Paris air crash victims

Friends, players and supporters of Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club at the unveiling of the 1974 Paris air crash memorial ANL-160711-151318001
Friends, players and supporters of Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club at the unveiling of the 1974 Paris air crash memorial ANL-160711-151318001
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In a small ceremony for family and friends, a memorial has been unveiled to the 18 Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club members and supporters killed in the 1974 Paris air crash.

The granite memorial, inspired by a larger one at Ermenonville near Paris, was unveiled yesterday by John Cousins, the last surviving member of a club party who had flown to France to see England play.

Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club's 1974 Paris air crash memorial ANL-160711-151329001

Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club's 1974 Paris air crash memorial ANL-160711-151329001

John had been one of a small group who decided to stay in France instead of catching the ill-fated Turkish Airlines DC10 from Orly on March 3, 1974.

Austin Cornish and Gordon Ellis, who lost fathers in the tragedy, spoke at the unveiling.

Gordon said on behalf of the families:“For many of the family members and friends the tragedy is still and will always be raw in our minds, however on Saturday with the memorial standing strong overlooking the 1st XV pitch and being surrounded by friends and families the pain eases and joy returns.

“The new permanent memorial means their memory will go on.”

Bury Free Press coverage of the 1974 Paris air crash that killed 18 Bury Rugby Club members and fans ANL-160711-162926001

Bury Free Press coverage of the 1974 Paris air crash that killed 18 Bury Rugby Club members and fans ANL-160711-162926001

Austin, who organised a fund-raising cycle run on the 40th anniversary of the crash, said afterwards: “It’s still raw in people’s minds. It was an emotional event.

“We’ve had a plaque in the clubhouse for 40 years. It’s great to have something permanent where everyone can see it. It will keep it alive in people’s minds.”

The cycle run raised more than four times its target £40,000 and has funded projects at the club as well as the memorial, which was also supported by local businesses.

The crash, in which 346 died, was the second attributed to a poorly designed cargo door latching system on the DC10 and resulted in a redesign of the locking system.