A new memorial park to commemorate the 72 people who lost their lives in a tragic air disaster in 1967, has officially opened in Stockport today.
A short ceremony was held at the new park in Hopes Carr which was overseen by the Mayor of Stockport and attended by invited guests including Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Hunter, Cllr Grace Baynham, ward councillors and Paul Richards, Stockport Council’s Director of Development and Regeneration and Mark Glynn, the council’s Director of Place Management.
The accident happened on 4 June, 1967 when a Canadair C-4 Argonaut passenger aircraft owned by British Midland Airways crashed on land very close to the new memorial park, tragically killing 72 of the 84 passengers on board. The new park is located within close proximity of the existing Hopes Carr air disaster memorial.
Cllr Mark Hunter, leader of Stockport Council, said: “It was an absolute privilege to be part of today’s ceremony to remember the 72 people who lost their lives in such tragic circumstances. I know it had a profound effect on many people in Stockport at the time and it still does to this day.
“It’s a beautiful space and a fitting tribute. I’m really pleased that we have been able to honour their memory in this way and I hope it will become a special place for many residents.”
Among the guests were Francis Parker, whose godparents Bernard and Jane Dowd lost their lives on that fateful day. He was only 7 years old at the time but remembers the day of the accident vividly.
Francis said: “It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon. I remember my mother being very upset and calling me in from playing outside to explain to me what had happened. News and details came through quite slowly back then compared to today. Bernard and Jane have no close relatives that I am aware of but I am glad that they will be remembered in this way in such a peaceful setting.”
The park has been sensitively designed to offer a quiet place of reflection that greatly improves the surroundings of the memorial, whilst also providing an open space close to the town centre where local people can spend time outside, in a good quality green space.
Throughout the park, there is a theme of hope, which has been portrayed through the use of rainbow colours and arch shapes, which have been incorporated into the layout of the footpaths, stools and structures.
This theme applies to several significant events that have affected residents over the last few years including the Covid 19 pandemic, as well as making a significance of positively remembering the people that lost their lives in the air disaster.