Walk in memory of Worthing hero pilot who saved countless lives in Shoreham after mid-air collision 10 years ago

Two sisters who lost their father in a mid-air collision over Shoreham ten years ago are walking in his memory to raise money for the RNLI.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 10:44 am
Updated Monday, 14th June 2021, 12:34 pm

They will start and finish at Adur Recreation Ground, where pilot Alan Weal brought his stricken aeroplane down and was hailed as a hero for saving lives by steering it away from a children’s play park and hundreds of homes.

Sisters Victoria Falconer, 46, from Worthing and Samantha Weal, 49, from Ashington will be among four generations of the family as they all walk 10km on Sunday, July 4, starting at 9am.

Victoria Falconer said: “So many of the local community helped, as they felt he was a hero avoiding any other deaths.

Alan Weal was hailed a hero for saving lives when he steered his stricken plane away from a children's play park and hundreds of homes

“We will be walking to celebrate the life of a wonderful man who tragically lost his life ten years ago in a plane crash in Shoreham in 2011.

“This is not a sad day, it’s a day to remember a much-loved son, husband, father, grandad and great grandad. Not only a loving family man, he was a loyal friend, a dedicated aviator and most importantly, a true hero to the end.

“A JustGiving page has been set up with donations to the RNLI, a charity close to his heart. He had too many passions to list but aside from flying, he also loved boating and scuba diving.”

At the end of the walk, the family will raise a glass of fizz in honour of Alan and the sisters said he ‘would definitely approve of that part’. They hope the community will join them to remember their hero.

Sisters Victoria Falconer, left, and Samantha Weal are walking in memory of their father, Alan Weal, who lost his life in a mid-air collision ten years ago

Alan, a retired British Airways captain who lived in Goring, was 63 when he died on July 4, 2011. He was piloting a light aircraft, testing a RV6 for a friend, when it collided with another in mid-air over Shoreham and crashed on Adur Recreation Ground, where it was engulfed in flames.

The pilot of the other aircraft, which was based at Shoreham Airport, carried out a successful emergency landing.

The inquest jury concluded it was an accident but widow Penelope Weal said afterwards the family felt the crash was preventable.

A memorial bench was unveiled on Adur Recreation Ground in September 2011.

Victorian on the memorial bench, which was unveiled on Adur Recreation Ground in September 2011

The seat has an inscription that reads “In loving memory of Alan Weal, brave pilot who lost his life here, 4 July 2011. Gone but never forgotten”.