Evening Post Wed April 11th 1973
A big appeal fund to help those stricken by the disas- ter was launched this after- noon by Axbridge Rural Council chairman John Walter. Bristol United Press, pub- lisher of the Evening Post and Western Daily Press, immediately announced that they would make an initial gift of £1,000. GRIEF It will be used to relieve Immediate distress, and to bring long term help to the grief stricken families of Abridge, Cheddar, Congresbury and Wrington. Donations may be sent to the treasurer of Axbridge Rural Council, and ear- marked for any one of the four parishes. ClIr. Walter, who lives at Congresbury and lost many friends in the disaster, said messages of sympathy and offers had been pouring in from all over the country. And his authority would be doing all they could to help relieve the great dis- tress.
A memorial was also being planned to stand as a permanent tribute to all those who had died. Axbridge Parish Council chairman Mr. John Todd spoke afterwards of the grief that had swept the town. “It has been a terrible blow to us all,” he said. ClIr. Todd said that the Abridge Ladies’ Guild, who had around 60 members on the plane, had always done wonderful work for the town. Donations for the fund should be sent DIRECT to: The Treasurer, Axbridge Rural Council, Woodborough Road, Winscombe, Somerset.
Six Somerset women told this afternoon of their miracle escape from the Vanguard crash when the tail their lives. broke off and saved their lives
Sitting in a circle in a ward of Dornach Hospital, five miles from Basle, they all sent this message to the people at home: “We have just fine, come through so please don’t worry.” They are: Mrs. Eileen Edgington (36), of Cheddar: Mrs. Pam Churches (21), of Axbridge; Mrs. Mary Long (52), of Axbridge; Mrs. Shireen Hart (22), of Axbridge; Miss Susan Dyer (23), of Cheddar and Mrs. Agnes Rose White (68), of Cheddar, All were full of admiration for Susan Dyer an auxilliary nurse at St. Michael’s Cheshire Home, Axbridge. Susan, who sustained a damaged ankle and is limping. told me: “Being very slim, my seat belt was not too tight and
when the crash came, I slipped from my seat and the next I knew I was sitting on the roof of the plane which had turned upside down. “There was an air hostess at the rear of the plane who was quite marvellous and she and another girl colleague gave instructions and we all helped people were hanging upside down still held by their seat straps. “Then, there was flames and smoke and we were all urged to get out and as far from the plane as possible. “One of the hostesses had a cut on the eye, which was very bad, but, throughout, she bravely went about her job with no complaints.” Susan said that they had no warning from the captain of the aircraft that anything was wrong, and they thought it was a normal approach to land. “We saw trees and the aircraft suddenly rose with a jerk which made us feel sick and then there was a bump which we thought was the landing,” said Susan. ‘We were all so dazed, we did not even realise the front of the plane had gone.” While Susan praised others, it was those around her who in turn spoke of Susan’s courage and coolness in helping people through the wreckage to safety. Mrs. Agnes White said: “We’ve all got bumps and bruises, but we thank God that really we are all right. “I think it was the first flight for all of us. We have every praise for the Swiss authorities and everyone who helped us down the mountain.” Mrs. Long was on the plane with two daughters, Mrs. Betty Toomer, of Axbridge. in the same hospital, and Mrs. Pam Churches. She was also with two nieces, Mrs. Hart and Mrs. Iris Hooper, from Ilminster. Also, her sister-in-law, Mrs. Lena Draycott. Carver, of Mrs. Long said she was grateful they had all survived and knew that Mrs. Toomer was on but the mend, was waiting to hear details of Mrs. Carver, who is in one of the other hospitals. Mrs. Hart, mother of children, aged four, two and one, said: “Please send a message to my husband not to worry. “T was one of those still strapped in a seat hanging upside down and when I got my seatbelt unhitched, I dropped down other women. among
“It was one of those terrible happenings I will just never forget.” The injuries of the six are: Mrs. White, badly swollen hands; Mrs. Edgington, bruising of the legs; Mrs. Churches, both legs bruised and a crushed finger; Mrs. Long a bump on the head and a cracked rib; Mrs. Hart, a black eye and bruises. The hospital was visited this afternoon by two women from the British community in Basle who were on a mercy mission. They were willing to do anything to help. One of the two, a Scotswoman, told me that they refused to reveal their identities. “This is just the British spirit at work. “Not that the Swiss aren’t doing everything they can but it’s, our job to do our bit pitch in.””