The parents of Jason and Stuart Hill, two 'inseparable' brothers who died in the Grand Canyon helicopter crash, have paid tribute to their 'wonderful sons'.
The brothers, who were on a 'holiday of a lifetime' to celebrate Stuart's 30th birthday, died along with Becky Dobson from Worthing when the helicopter came down at about 5.20pm local time, 12.20am GMT, while on a tour of the canyon in Arizona.
The men's parents, Reverend David Hill and his wife Sandra, from Worthing, have now paid tribute to their sons.
Speaking to the Herald, Reverend Hill, a chaplain at Worthing Hospital, said: "Children are a gift and a loan, but when they are taken from us it rips the heart out of you."
In a statement released by the family, the couple said: "Jason and Stuart were wonderful sons, inseparable brothers and just remarkable people who were truly loved and will be deeply missed by so many, many people.
“We have a large extended family and Jason and Stuart were always at the heart of it, organising get-togethers and always with time for others. If ever either of us came home after a difficult day, Jason or Stuart would be there with a smile or a hug, and that was all we needed to lift our spirits again.
"We always did things as a family and as parents we feel blessed to have had them in our lives.
“Our sons were happy, outgoing people who loved cycling, walking and spending time with family and friends. They were both doing well in their careers and had saved up for a year to mark Stuart’s 30th birthday with a real holiday of a lifetime with their friends."
Stuart, 30, was a salesman with Mercedes Benz car retailer Lookers in Brighton. Jason, 31, was a solicitor for Shoosmiths in Milton Keynes, and specialised in private equity transactions and was soon to become a partner in the firm. A University of Southampton law graduate, he qualified from the College of Law in Guildford.
It is understood that three others on the birthday trip, Ellie Milward, 29, Jonathan Udall, 32, and Jennifer Barham, 39, were injured in the crash, along with pilot Scott Booth, 42.
Reverend Hill said: "Our hearts go out to Becky’s family at this terrible time and we are praying for the recovery of Jen, Jonathan and Ellie.
“It was typical of them that they wanted to be together to celebrate. Jason and Stuart had an incredible bond with each other right from when they were young children. We always said they were so close they were like twins and we will find some support in knowing they were with each other to the last.
"We will thank God every day for having them in our lives.
“Thank you for respecting our privacy at this extremely difficult time.”
A prayer service will be taking place on Friday in memory of Jason, Stuart and Becky. Click here for the details.