A MEMORIAL is to be erected in Fleetwood to celebrate the lives of seven men who died in the Morecambe Bay helicopter crash five years ago.
The town has been chosen as the siting of the tribute chiefly because of the brave efforts of Fleetwood Lifeboatmen during the tragedy.
It was on December 27, 2006 when the SA365 Dauphin helicopter, which was picking up rig workers off Morecambe Bay, crashed into the Irish Sea, killing everyone on board.
Now, on the fifth anniversary of the tragedy, plans have been unveiled to erect a monument to remember those who died and the brave work of the RNLI who tried to rescue them.
Families of the men, led by Sandra Potton, the wife of helicopter pilot Steve Potton, want a major memorial to be erected with the names of all those who died – including Preston co-pilot Simon Foddering – and a mention of the RNLI rescuers.
Cleveleys County Councillor Andrea Kay, who has been working with them on the project, said they were hoping a memorial stone would be officially dedicated in February, with a special service for the families.
Mrs Potton said: “It is something I have been planning for quite a while.
“It is so for future events we can get together and there is somewhere for us to go.
“I have been talking to all the other wives and they are in full agreement.”
The memorial will be erected close to the RNLI building in Fleetwood.
Mrs Potton added: “I would like it in Fleetwood because that is where the RNLI is based and Steve was a member of a Masonic Lodge there, so we have links to the area. I hope he would have been proud of what I have done, he was a good man, I think he would be.
“It has taken a long time to move on, sometimes it still hits me in the face, but I am happy, and will be even happier once this memorial is up.”
The families and Coun Kay are currently speaking with Wyre Council and Lancashire County Council about the project.
It will likely have to go through the planning process.
Mrs Potton said it would be made from stone and would have a plinth featuring the names of each of the men and a picture of a helicopter, gas rig and RNLI boat.
It is expected to cost several thousand pounds, the cost of which Mrs Potton, who is from North Shore, Blackpool, will meet.