Hundreds at service for crash couple

Carl and Kathryn Whiteley
Carl and Kathryn Whiteley

Hundreds of people packed into a memorial service for a West Hallam couple who were killed when their plane crashed.

Carl Whiteley and wife Kathryn, both 55, were killed when the plane he was piloting ditched in the sea off the Jersey coast. The couple were on their way home from holiday.

Their Cessna Crusader aircraft came down in thick fog five miles out to sea while on approach to Jersey Airport at 10.20am on September 4.

A search and rescue operation was launched but Jersey police later confirmed there were no survivors.

During a memorial service at St Wilfrid’s Church, emotional tributes were paid to the couple.

Their youngest daughter, Sarah, spoke at length about her parents on behalf of herself and sister Gillian.

She said: “Mum and dad bought us up to be strong and it is a good job, given the way that they have left us.

“We have no idea why they were taken from us in the manner they were.

“It always seems like the good people that are snatched from us first in life so early. But then somebody said to me that heaven needs the really good people, too.

“Maybe there was a vacancy up there for a caring mother. And for dad there must have been a vacancy for a wind-up merchant.

“Mum was my best friend. Someone I could not go a day without speaking to. Our families are very close and this was down to mum. She knitted us together tight as a family unit. Mum was fundamental to our family lives.”

The couple met when they were 15 at a youth club and at the age of 22 they decided to marry, in 1979. Their first daughter Gillian was born a year later.

The pair had travelled extensively during the summer and the family spoke at least three times a day.

In a final Facebook post by Mrs Whiteley, she shared a status which read: “To all my family and friends, I just want to say that I love you because yesterday is gone, today is almost over and tomorrow is not promised.”

Sarah recounted the day that the news was broken to the family. She said: “The morning of September 4 was the day that we heard the news that nobody should have to hear and nobody should have to find the words to say.

“My whole world crumbled beneath me. At that point I didn’t know how I would get through the next hour let alone the rest of my life.

“There will not be a day that goes by when we don’t think of you and while you are gone we know that you will always be with us looking after us.”