England

New Zealand helicopter crash: Memorial service for Nigel and Helen Charlton

Nigel and Helen Charlton memorial service
Image caption Romsey Male Voice Choir, of which Mr Charlton was a member, sang at the service

A memorial service has been held for a Hampshire couple killed in a helicopter crash in New Zealand.

Nigel and Helen Charlton had been on a sightseeing flight when the aircraft came down on Fox Glacier in November.

Leading a service at Romsey Abbey, Reverend Canon Tim Sledge said the couple lived "vibrantly, energetically and hospitably".

Romsey Male Voice Choir, of which Mr Charlton, 66, was a member, sang at the service, leaving a space in his memory.

The group sang Pokarekare Anna, a new Zealand love song, in tribute to Mrs Charlton, 70, as well as Chattanooga Choo Choo to reflect Mr Charlton's enthusiasm for trains.

Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Nigel and Helen Charlton were adventurous travellers, their family said

The public service was attended by hundreds of friends and followed a private family funeral on Monday.

Speaking before the service, choir member Geoff Skinner said: "They did a lot for charity and everyone loved them. There'll be a few tears but we're here to celebrate their lives."

The couple were keen travellers and the New Zealand trip was to be their last big adventure together, a family statement said following the crash.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Fox Glacier, on the remote west coast of New Zealand's South Island, is visited by thousands of tourists each year

Reverend Sledge said: "The family have been buoyed up by so many messages of sympathy and support and the energy and commitment people want to put into this service."

Mr and Mrs Charlton died along with Andrew Virco, 49, and Katharine Walker, 50, from Cambridge, Sovannmony Leang, 27, and Josephine Gibson, 29, both from New South Wales, and pilot Mitchell Gameren, 28, of Queenstown, New Zealand.

The aircraft crashed in a crevasse on the glacier, a popular tourist attraction on the remote west coast of New Zealand's South Island.

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