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Family of air crash victim to pay tribute

The family of Blackpool man Glenn Thomas, who died when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed, will travel to London for a wreath laying ceremony.

The family of Blackpool man Glenn Thomas, who died when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed, will travel to London for a wreath laying ceremony.

The grieving family of a Blackpool man who lost his life in the Ukraine air disaster will travel to London to take part in a wreath laying ceremony to honour humanitarian workers who died.

Glenn Thomas, 49, was one of 298 people killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed, apparently after being shot down in the conflict-torn country.

Mr Thomas, originally from Blackpool, was living in Geneva and was travelling on the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17.

He had been due to board an onward flight to Australia.

Now his twin sister Tracey Withers and members of his family will travel to Westminster Abbey tomorrow for the wreath laying ceremony in memory of Mr Thomas and all other humanitarian workers killed in the line of duty.

The ceremony, at the Innocent Victims Memorial in the precincts of Westminster Abbey, to which the family have been invited by the secretariat for the National Memorial for Humanitarian Aid Workers, is due to begin at 6pm and will be 
followed by a private reception for the families.

Tracey told The Gazette: “We are very pleased to be able to attend this event as a tribute to all the aid workers who were lost on that flight.”

Dr Elaine Laycock, who is on the committee for the National Memorial to Humanitarian Aid Workers and is a former aid worker, wrote to the family and said: “We are hoping to make this an annual event and in 2016 unveil a permanent memorial at Cloisters (at the Abbey) to humanitarian aid workers killed on duty.

“The World Health Organisation will be placing a rose for Glenn.”

A former journalist and spokesman for the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Mr Thomas was on his way to a medical conference in Australia when his flight came down close to the Russian border, allegedly shot down by pro-Russian separatists.

He grew up in South Shore and went to Highfield High School, joined the civil service after leaving Blackpool Sixth Form. He went to night school where he got his A-Levels before studying economics at Bangor University.

From there he got his first job in journalism at The 
Citizen newspaper in St Annes.

Tomorrow’s event is part of efforts to have a national memorial to humanitarian aid workers inside the Abbey.

It will be the first gathering of its kind in Britain to mark World Humanitarian Day.

The day also commemorates the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, which killed 22 people, including the special representative of the UN secretary general.

 

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