Family’s tribute to tragic parachutist

St Michael's Church, Cockerham.
St Michael's Church, Cockerham.

A GRIEVING family has spoken for the first time of its anguish after a father-of-four plunged to his death in a horror parachute accident.

Lee Clifford, 40, got into difficulty during a jump at the Cockerham Gala last Saturday.

Lee Clifford, 40

Lee Clifford, 40

Witnesses described how his chute had become tangled and despite his efforts to cut it free and deploying his emergency chute, he was too close to the ground.

He was pronounced dead in a field close to St Michael’s Church in Cockerham, near Pilling.

A spokesman for the family today said: “Lee was a much loved father of four wonderful children and a dear friend to the many people that knew and worked with him.

“This was a terrible, tragic accident that has devastated his friends and loved ones.

“He was a young man that was full of life and we are deeply saddened to have lost him in such terrible circumstances.”

Emergency services were called to the scene at around 2pm but Mr Clifford’s injuries had proved fatal.

A joint investigation into what happened is now being carried out by Lancashire Police and the British Parachute Association (BPA),

Mr Clifford was from St Helens in Merseyside.

Gala organiser Lorraine Lawson, secretary of the Cockerham Sports Day committee, said: “I send my deepest condolences to his family.”

A spokesman from the Black Knights Parachute Centre in Cockerham, said: “A BPA board of inquiry will be investigating the accident and when complete will submit the reports to the coroner, and any other relevant information

An eyewitness told The Gazette last week how he saw Mr Clifford fall to his death from his garden, close to the church where his body was found.

Chris Tomlin, 56, raced to the scene and tried to tend to him, but it was too late.

He said: “Me and my partner were rooted to the spot and I said to her: ‘This guy’s in trouble’, but then I jumped in my car and went straight down.

“When we got there you could see by his injuries he was badly hurt.

“I tended to him and held his head.

“There was nothing I could do for him.”