David Hill, father of brothers Stuart and Jason, paid tribute to his sons who died in the Grand Canyon helicopter crash
The father of two brothers who were killed in the helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon on Saturday says he will always remember the last hugs he gave them, for the rest of his life.
St Matthew’s Church in Worthing, West Sussex, hosted the service at 6pm on Friday after brothers Jason Hill, 32, and Stuart Hill, 30, died alongside Stuart’s girlfriend Becky Dobson, 27.
The Rev David Hill made the comments ahead of the memorial service.
Prayers were also said for survivors Ellie Milward, 29, Jonathan Udall, 32, and Jennifer Barham, 39, who are being treated in hospital in America for critical injuries, as well as pilot Scott Booth, 42, who was also injured.
Speaking to reporters outside St Matthew’s Church, Mr Hill said everything was ‘incredibly raw’ and he would ‘cry his eyes out’ at the service.
He said he was thinking of all ‘six wonderful people’ involved in the tragedy and had hoped veterinary receptionist Ms Dobson would one day have become his daughter-in-law.
Mr Hill, a member of the church’s preaching team, added: ‘If I say one thing to the people listening: When you next see your children or anyone who matters the most to you, give them a hug.
Mourners gather at St. Matthews Church in Worthing, West Sussex, for a memorial service for Stuart and Jason Hill
‘It may sound very trivial but the very last thing that I gave my children was a hug.
‘That hug I will remember for the rest of my life.’
Attending alongside his wife Sandra and the family of Ms Dobson, he said the service showed the church and Worthing ‘at its best’ because of how the community comes together at times of need, adding: ‘They proved that (before) in the Shoreham disaster they could be there for people.’
More than 300 people packed into the church and it was standing room only, with a crowd of people queuing around the street corner for most of the service.
Sara-Jane Stevens, (pictured), lead the service and described the tragic brothers as being ‘loving and full of mischief’
The Rev Sara-Jane Stevens led prayers, a period of reflection and selected pieces of music including See You Again by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth.
Seven candles were lit – three of which were purple in memory of those who died and four white symbols of hope for the survivors still in hospital.
She remembered the brothers as ‘loving’ and ‘full of mischief’, adding: ‘(The family) are broken. Part of their very soul has been taken in the death of their children. I don’t know how they get through this but I will be there for them.’
Stuart Hill, 30 (left) and his brother Jason Hill, 32, who both died alongside Becky Dobson, 27 who was Stuart’s girlfriend
Friend of the Hill family Andrew Fadoju, a minister at the town’s Elim church, said: ‘When I heard about the crash I was shocked and filled with overwhelming sadness for the families.
‘They were the kind of children any parent would be proud of. It is such a shame they have been taken in the prime of life.’
Ms Dobson’s family were also present at the service.
Speakers to reporters before the service, Mr Hill said that everything was still ‘incredibly raw’ following Saturday’s horrific crash
The brothers and Ms Dobson died from multiple injuries in the accident, with all three being from Worthing, West Sussex
Her father Peter said his daughter, who had ambitions of becoming a veterinary nurse, was ‘full of life’ and ‘always happy’.
The Airbus EC130 B4 crashed just before sunset on tribal land in the Grand Canyon, outside of the national park where air tours are less regulated.
Ms Dobson and the brothers, who are originally from Worthing, died from multiple injuries in the accident, Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office said.
The preliminary findings were released ahead of full post-mortem examination reports which could take up to six weeks.
The cause of the crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Ms Dobson’s family were also present at the service and her father Peter said she was ‘full of life’, pictured with Stuart Hill
The cause of the crash is still being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and mourners could be seen visibly upset as they remembered the victims
Investigators will interview witnesses, survivors, the helicopter operator and manufacturer and others before issuing a full report in at least a year’s time.
Preliminary findings are expected before the end of the month.
More than £14,000 has been raised for Mr Udall and Ms Milward who were on their honeymoon at the time, according to a JustGiving crowdfunding webpage.
Before the memorial service, David Hill and his wife Sandra, who attend the church, described their sons as ‘remarkable people’
Preliminary findings on the cause of the crash are expected before the end of the month but a full report on what happened could take at least a year