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Tributes paid to remarkable men: Special report

Rochester Cathedral, where the memorial service takes place
Rochester Cathedral, where the memorial service takes place

Warm tributes have been paid to three "remarkable and brave men" who died in the Kent Air Ambulance tragedy 10 years ago.

Some 300 family members, friends and colleagues attended a 50-minute service of thanksgiving in Rochester Cathedral on Friday for helicopter pilot Graham Budden, and paramedics Mark Darby and Tony Richardson.

They were killed when their helicopter crashed in Nashenden Valley, near their Rochester Airport base, on Sunday, July 26, 1998.

Mr Darby's daughter, Rachel, now 15, spoke movingly of her father, how much she missed him and how much she had admired what he had achieved.

Tony Monteuuis, chairman of the Kent Air Ambulance, hailed what he described as "three remarkable and brave men."

Their colleague, Colin Taylor, said:" They are not gone. They live on in our hearts, our thoughts, our memories and our ambitions."

The service was introduced by the Dean of Rochester, the Very Rev Adrian Newman, and the address was given by the Rev Canon Ed Condry, trustee of Kent Air Ambulance Trust.

The congregation included local dignitaries, including the High Sheriff, Richard Oldfield, mayors, Kate Chivers, former Air Ambulance chief executive, and David Philpott, the current chief executive.


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