The family of a Worcestershire pilot who died in a North Sea helicopter crash this month joined thousands of mourners in a memorial service to pay their final respects.
Richard Menzies, aged 24, from Droitwich Spa, died when the Super-Puma aircraft he was travelling in went down 11 miles north east of Peterhead just minutes after leaving BP’s Miller Platform on April 1.
Crash investigators discovered that a ‘catastrophic failure’ in the helicopter’s main gearbox had caused it to drop from the sky ‘like a stone’.
It was later revealed that engineers had discovered a problem in the gearbox a week before the tragedy.
In a memorial service at the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting, in Aberdeen, yesterday, the 14 passengers and two crew who died were described as “heroes who will never be forgotten”.
The service also recognised David Stephenson, who died on board the oil rig support vessel Wellservicer on the same day as the helicopter crash.
Candles for each victim were lit during an emotional service that was attended by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and the Prince of Wales.
Around 1,000 mourners filled the church while another 2,000 members of the public stood in Aberdeen’s Union Street watching the service on big screens.
Presiding, the Rev Andrew Jolly, chaplain to the UK oil and gas industry, said: “This occasion must be for us all today a time of great sadness and sorrow.
“But as we gather here today - representatives of the oil and gas industry, the Miller installation, the wider community of Aberdeen and the nation as a whole - we want all of you to know that your loss is our loss, that your sorrow is our sorrow too, and we want you to know that you can look to us in the days, months and years ahead for comfort, for love but most of all for support.”
Mr Menzies is survived by his 21-year-old sister Laura and his father Andrew, who is a partner at a Birmingham-based firm of accountants Grant Thornton.
His mother, Ann, died of cancer a few years ago.
In a statement released earlier this month Mr Thornton, said: “We are hugely proud of Richard and the life he led.
“He was a charming and charismatic man, the loss of whom will be felt by many.
“Richard was passionate about flying helicopters and he joined a very professional, committed and close-knit family of pilots at Bond Offshore Helicopters.
“I, my daughter Laura and Richard’s girlfriend want to express our thanks and support for the hugely professional team at Bond including Bill Munro, managing director, his senior colleagues and several of Richard’s fellow pilots.
Yellow flowers spelling the word “Brothers” came with a tribute which read: “In memory of absent friends and colleagues, from the Lindsey Oil Refinery shop stewards’ committee.”