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Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club holds memorial service after Paris air disaster 50 years ago





A rugby club in a Suffolk town held a memorial service and paid tribute to those who died in a plane crash 50 years ago.

On March 3, 1974, 18 members of Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club were killed in what was then the world’s worst ever air disaster.

After taking off from Orly International Airport, a Turkish Airlines plane came down in Ermenonville Forest, near Paris, following a France-England rugby match.

The memorial service at Bury St Edmunds Rugby club for the victims of the Paris plane crash. Pictures: Mecha Morton
The memorial service at Bury St Edmunds Rugby club for the victims of the Paris plane crash. Pictures: Mecha Morton

All of the 346 passengers on board the flight were killed.

A memorial service and lunch was held at the Greene King IPA Haberden today, ahead of the first team's match against Dorking RFC.

Club chairman Craig Germeney said: “Rugby is very much about community and our club is very much about our community too.

Bury captain Matt Bursey lays some flowers
Bury captain Matt Bursey lays some flowers

“It’s a really important and emotional occasion for so many people and the air disaster is very much ingrained in the fabric of our club.

“It’s crucial to remember how this has shaped us and it is a reason why we are the club we are today.

“I don’t think anyone is immune from the emotion here and it has touched everyone in their own way.”

The service was held ahead of the first team's match against Dorking
The service was held ahead of the first team's match against Dorking

Tributes began with a memorial service led by Reverend Tiffer Robinson of St Mary's Church, followed by a performance from Bury St Edmunds Male Voice Choir.

People were welcomed to lay flowers at the club’s dedicated 1974 memorial monument and visitors were also given the opportunity to write in the book of respect.

“I’m very privileged and honoured to come and lead a short act of remembrance,” Reverend Tiffer said.

“Today we will remember those who died in the plane crash fifty years ago and we still feel the waves of this tragedy fifty years on.”

The service was led by Reverend Tiffer Robinson of St Mary's Church, followed by a performance from Bury St Edmunds Male Voice Choir
The service was led by Reverend Tiffer Robinson of St Mary's Church, followed by a performance from Bury St Edmunds Male Voice Choir

Bury’s players have been carrying the names of the 18 victims on special black anniversary shirts this season.

The Bury Free Press coverage of the plane crash tragedy that stunned the town
The Bury Free Press coverage of the plane crash tragedy that stunned the town

A minutes silence was held before a delayed kick off at 3.30pm.