Colleagues carry coffin of former air ambulance pilot killed in crash
A HELICOPTER-shaped floral tribute was laid at the funeral of a pilot who once flew the air ambulance in Notts.
Pete Barnes, 50, died from multiple injuries when his helicopter clipped a crane on a building at St George Wharf, Vauxhall, London, and crashed into the street.
Family, friends and fellow pilots were at Reading Minster yesterday to pay tribute to the father-of-two.
A red, white and grey floral tribute was laid outside the Minster, carrying a note which said "G-Barnesy".
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Another note read: "Barnesy, you were tip top... Gone too soon but never forgotten."
Flowers were laid on top of Mr Barnes's coffin, which was carried into the Minster by fellow pilots, among others.
The pilot, who lived in Berkshire but grew up in Nottingham, had two children – 12-year-old Alexandra and eight-year-old Freddy – with his partner Rebecca Dixon.
He was flying from Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey to Elstree, Hertfordshire, but was diverted to Battersea heliport due to bad weather.
Shortly after, his helicopter clipped the crane.
Witnesses described hearing a loud bang and a flash of light as the twin-engine aircraft crashed near Wandsworth Road.
Pedestrian Matthew Wood, 39, of Sutton, Surrey, was also killed in the incident as he walked to work.
He died from severe burns and a leg injury.
Mr Barnes, who grew up in Woodthorpe, was a veteran pilot with 25 years' experience.
He had flown for both the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance, and the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance.
He had also worked as a stunt pilot in several films, including Oscar-winning Saving Private Ryan and Tomb Raider II.
The 50-year-old had played squash for Notts and had been a member of Nottingham Squash Racket Club, playing at Tattershall Drive, The Park.
Did you know Mr Barnes? To pay tribute to him email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 905 1967.