A FORMER bicycle shop worker in Cosham has been named as one of the victims of the Shoreham air crash.
Richard Smith, 26, was on a cycle ride in the South Downs with friend Dylan Archer, 42, when a vintage Hawker Hunter jet which has been performing an air show display crashed on the busy A27, claiming 11 lives.
Mr Smith, who was named as one of the victims by Sussex police last night, worked in Cosham after attending university in Birmingham.
Two years ago he moved to Hove where he worked in marketing and web development at ActSmart, a firm which specialises in providing advice to the cycle industry.
His family said: ‘Richard’s passions in life were for his family, friends and his beloved bikes.
‘His boundless enthusiasm was infectious. He was a truly wonderful, caring and loving person.
‘He leaves behind his partner Victoria, his parents Julie and Jonathan, and two much-loved brothers William and Edward. He will be so sorely missed by all who knew him.’
ActSmart director Jonathan Harrison said: ‘We are all totally devastated by this tragedy and are still trying to come to terms with the loss of such a young, fun, individual who had endless potential in life and in his career.’
Tributes to the latest victims to be named came after the A27 near Shoreham was partially reopened for the first time since the crash.
Thousands of people took part in a minute’s silence on Saturday to remember the 11 people who died seven days before. The poignant gatherings were held as West Sussex senior coroner Penelope Schofield announced that all victims have now been formally identified and their families told.
Inquests into their deaths will be opened and adjourned on Wednesday at County Hall North in Horsham where all 11 victims’ names will be officially released.
The jet crashed with such force that specialists had to examine DNA, teeth and human remains to discover who was killed.
The plane wreckage has been sent to Farnborough, where Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigators will seek to find out what caused the crash. An interim report is due in the next few days.
The jet’s pilot, Andrew Hill, who worked in Chichester, was left fighting for his life after the crash, and has now been moved to a specialist hospital for treatment.