Leicester open garden to honour chairman killed in helicopter crash

Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Leicester City on Sunday opened the Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Garden on the first anniversary of the helicopter crash that claimed the life of the club's former chairman and four other people.

Srivaddhanaprabha died when his helicopter spun out of control and came down outside the King Power Stadium following a 1-1 draw with West Ham on October 27, 2018.

Staff members Kaveporn Punpare and Nusara Suknamai, and pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Lechowicz also lost their lives in the accident.

Leicester forward Jamie Vardy, who visited the garden before its opening, said: "You know full well it's going to be packed out with people coming to look here and paying their respects.

"It'll be here for years and years to come and that's what we wanted. We want to carry on that legacy that Khun Vichai wanted and this is definitely part of that."

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel tweeted: "We miss you boss."

Chairman of the official supporters club Cliff Ginetta told the Press Association: "It's a tranquil corner where anyone can go and sit and reflect. They've got it right again.

"He turned up many years back and transformed not just the football club but the thinking of the city.

"It's a tribute to what he's done. When he took over we were all 'who is this guy?' but they came in and slowly transformed it.

"It was such a dark day and credit to his family, they have carried on. In tragic circumstances you could lose some of that fight and enthusiasm but they've carried on in his name."

Britain's Air Accident Investigation Branch said a series of cockpit pedals had become disconnected from the rotor on the helicopter's tail.

Leicester produced one of the greatest shocks in sport by winning the Premier League in 2015/16.

With Brendan Rodgers in the managerial hot seat they are again riding high, third in the league after a 9-0 demolition of Southampton on Friday.