Fund raiser will mark 40 years since air crash

Andy Spetch, left, and Austin Cornish by the club's memorial wall
Andy Spetch, left, and Austin Cornish by the club's memorial wall

Bury Rugby Club is seeking volunteers to help it mark the 40th anniversary of its saddest day.

The club plans to remember the anniversary of the plane crash that killed 18 members by holding a 353 miles sponsored cycle ride from the crash site at Ermonville to the Bury St Edmunds ground in May.

It will raise money for St Nicholas Hospice Care and for lighting youth team pitches.

They already have 51 cyclists signed up, including five who lost fathers, but they also need volunteers and sponsors.

Club committee member Andy Spetch said: “We want to keep it manageable with 100 cyclists, but we also need volunteers — people who will drive vans, help cook food, look after bikes.”

Fellow committee member Austin Cornish, whose father Laurie died in the crash, added: “We’ll need a doctor, physio.

“We’re trying to get in touch with all the families who lost people. I’ve probably kept in touch with about half and it would be good to make contact with others if they want to be involved.”

To register an interest in cycling or helping, email spetch16@btinternet.com by October 31.

Austin was only three when the Turkish Airlines DC10 crashed, near Bury’s twin town Compeigne, soon after leaving Orly Airport on March 3 1974. All 346 people on board were killed.

The club members, one aged only 16, had been to see an England-France match.

Austin said: “There were a lot of family and friends. When that spreads out to 18 people in a town the size of Bury, everyone knew someone.”

The club immediately assigned a senior member to support each family and Bury rallied round with a fund that reached £130,000.