Hundreds of students and staff gathered to pay a moving tribute following the tragic helicopter crash which killed Leicester City owner Khun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
A minute’s silence was held in Magazine Square for Khun Vichai, his staff Kaveporn Punpare and Nursara Suknamai, pilot Eric Swaffer and partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz – followed by a minute’s applause in recognition for all that Khun Vichai did for the club and the people of Leicester.
Vice-Chancellor of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Professor Dominic Shellard praised emergency services teams for their efforts on the fatal night. He described Khun Vichai as “always so very kind and so very generous.”
He added: “For such a powerful, successful man he was so kind, gentle and gracious. He put our community and he put our city at its ease.
“What we will do going forward together in the future will be a determined tribute to the legacy of the club’s remarkable owner.”
Among those paying tribute were students from Leicester Thai Society, which has nearly 100 members. Some of them had been able to study at DMU thanks to a scholarship launched by DMU and King Power.
Prammanee Sombattpiboon, society president, is one of those awarded a King Power Scholarship. She said the society wanted to honour Khun Vichai’s memory.
She said: “We all went to the King Power to pray for him and his family this morning and we remember him here. He did so much in Thailand, for the people and for the community. He loved football and spent money on education so children could play football.”
Following a minute’s silence and a minute’s applause, a book of condolence was opened and a queue formed of students and staff who wanted to sign.
Among those who signed were James Dillon and Ben Challis, of De Montfort Men’s Football Club. The team visited LCFC ground yesterday to leave club shirts in tribute. Ben, who was born and bred in Leicester, said the past few days had been awful.
He added: “He was such a generous human being. I’ve not heard one person say a bad thing. My brother is a season ticket holder and he said Vichai would be in the stands before games meeting people and would talk to fans in the bar. He has done everything for Leicester.”
James added: “We wanted to show our gratitude for what he did for Leicester and it was so moving.”
DMU has been Higher Education partner of Leicester City Football Club for the past six seasons. Thanks to the partnership students have had the opportunity of work placements at the club, the chance to play at the training ground during community coach days and get discounted tickets at selected matches.
In May DMU and LCFC announced a new partnership agreement which made DMU the Foxes’ Official Higher Education Partner for the next four years, continuing the university’s proud association with both the team on the pitch and the people who work behind the scenes.
Posted on Tuesday 30th October 2018