Daily Express Staff Reporter Wednesday April 11th 1973
THIS IS a disaster area, the village square at Axbridge, Somerset. As pretty as ever it was, sparkling in the after- noon sunlight. But life here will never be quite the same again. For just as surely as if hit by an avalanche, the crushing tragedy of yesterday’s plane crash in Switzerland will mark this village for ever. It was at this square that 63 members and friends of the Axbridge Ladies Guild gathered at first light yesterday morning, laughing and chattering and glad to get into the warm bus that was taking them to Bristol Airport.
Some of the menfolk were there to wave them off then hurry back for their one and only day duty of running the house while the girls lived it up bit in romantic Lucerne. But that didn’t happen. The girls”-in fact most of them were young mums, and some took children, too, as a special treat were on a plane heading for disaster. And now a great many of them are dead. And their husbands are alone in their grief.
A day of unbelieving horror was etched on the face of Mrs. Vera Binning, chairman of the Guild Ladies’ Mrs. Binning couldn’t go with her friends because her child was too young to leave behind.
She said: “They were all so excited as they left. They had been saving for weeks to make sure they really enjoyed themselves.” Throughout the village, and in neighbouring Cheddar and Congresbury, curtains were drawn in sorrow as the names of the dead started to come in. And in the Church of St. John the Baptist the new rector, the Rev. Anthony Martin, held a special ser-vice for those who died- and for the many children now motherless.