Matt Jones’ grieving family have told of the devastating moment they received news that the 24-year-old had been killed in the Shoreham Airshow crash.
Mum Hazel Jones, 59, said Matt didn’t typically drive to his job as a contractor on a Shoreham building site, but had decided to take a half day and go to the beach with friends in the afternoon.
Matt, who lived with his family in Littlehampton, was driving along the A27 with fellow contractor Daniele Polito when the vintage plane crashed after attempting a manoeuvre mid-air during the Shoreham Airshow.
Hazel was concerned when her and husband Stephen, 61, came home and noticed that Matt hadn’t been in.
She said: “We had been out for the day and when we came home he hadn’t been in from work - which was odd because he normally comes in for a shower.
“Then we heard on the TV that there had been this plane crash and I knew matt would have been finishing work at 1pm in Shoreham and there was a big possibility he could have been on that road at 1.20.”
The worried pair rang the police and hospitals in the area but there was no news about where Matt might be.
Hazel said: “In the meantime we got in touch with friends to ask if anyone had seen Matt, but nobody had.”
Sister Becky Jones, 26, said that four car-loads of friends had driven to the crash site to look for Matt’s silver BMW 2.5L Coupe, but were turned away by police.
In the early hours of the morning, detectives arrived at their home to give the family the devastating news.
Stephen said: “You know that as soon as the police arrive it’s bad news.”
Hazel added: “The police arrived and told us that they had found a silver BMW had been involved in the accident.
“They had also found nearby Matt’s driving license.
“So I think as far as we were concerned that was confirmation what had happened really.”
Matt was working as a contractor while he trained to become a qualified personal trainer.
Mum-of-two Becky, said he was an amazing person who had unconditional love for his two nieces Anya, five, and Fey, three.
Stephen said Matt had two tattoos that expressed his attitude to life - one that reads: “Everybody dies but not everybody lives”, and another on his arm that said: “You only live once.”
The family have been inundated with more than 200 text messages, emails and phone calls as well as constant deliveries of flowers.
Stephen said: “It’s been overwhelming.”
Hazel added: “Last night there were three pubs full of people that had got together to remember Matt.
“All of the support has been lovely and a real comfort to us.”
The family’s comments come as a Facebook post sent by Matt, which reads “Life is too short, do what makes you happy” went viral as friends shared it in tribute to him.
The post, originally sent in April, reached 5,500 likes, 2,300 shares and 240 responses paying tribute to the personal trainer yesterday afternoon.
Tarnia D’alson said: “What a status you literally did live life to the brim nothing ever stopped you. I hope you can see up there how many people cared for you rest in perfect peace!”
Sharon Asargiotakis added: “We should all keep that in our minds to honour his memory.”
As Shoreham descended into mourning, lines of flowers were left at the town’s Old Toll Bridge in memory of those who died in the crash.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.