Artists’ ‘honour’ in selection to sculpt airshow memorials

David Parfitt and Jane Fordham have been selected to work on the Shoreham Airshow memorials project SUS-170404-112506001
David Parfitt and Jane Fordham have been selected to work on the Shoreham Airshow memorials project SUS-170404-112506001

Artists commissioned to design a series of memorials to mark the Shoreham Airshow disaster have described their ‘honour’ at being chosen.

Jane Fordham and David Parfitt were selected by Adur District Council after impressing with their plans for memorials along the banks of the River Adur.

Cabinet members backed initial concepts on Tuesday (April 4), which will now be refined in consultation with the families of the 11 men killed in the tragedy.

Jane, who is based in Portslade, said: “It is a huge honour. We were a little surprised because the idea was not a single memorial.

“We felt it was appropriate but weren’t sure what everybody else would think.”

The memorials, the first images of which were revealed last week, will honour not just those killed but other groups involved, including the community and first responders.

The plans range from 11 lights over the Adur to remember the victims, to solitary seating areas for quiet reflection.

“We wanted to create areas that people could use as they wanted rather than incorporating lots of groups into one object,” Jane said.

“Obviously there were all the families and friends of the 11 men but were also the first responders and a lot of other people.”

Although not directly affected, the duo were in Shoreham at the time of the crash, in August, 2015.

Jane said the duo were constantly coming across people who had been involved or affected in some way .

Recounting the day of the crash, she said: “There was total confusion. We were in Shoreham sharing a coffee and we saw the smoke.

“The news started to come through on people’s phones but we quickly started to realise something had gone really badly wrong.”

The artists have worked together on a number of public art projects over the last 30 years.

Jane’s work includes the Birdman of Gloucester Road mosaic in Brighton, while David produced sculptures and worked on a landscape design for Pfizer’s headquarters in Sandwich, Kent.

The duo expect to refine their designs and hope to keep the community updated as the £180,000 project progresses.