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Leicester City helicopter crash: Jamie and Rebekah Vardy visit memorial

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Jamie and Rebekah Vardy were emotional as they paid tribute to Mr Vichai

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy and his wife have laid a wreath in memory of club boss Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha after his death in a helicopter crash.

The aircraft came down in a car park moments after taking off from the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening.

Vardy and wife Rebekah were visibly moved during a visit to a memorial outside the ground.

The pair added their own floral tribute to thousands of others left at the stadium.

Mr Vichai, two members of his staff, the pilot and a passenger all died at the scene.

Mr and Mrs Vardy returned to the stadium earlier with club ambassador Alan Birchenall to visit the memorial.

Mr Birchenall had been asked by Leicester City to lay a wreath on behalf of West Ham United.

He said the last few days had been a “horrible, horrible time” for him and paid tribute to Mr Vichai for his generosity and support.

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Plumb Images / Getty Images

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Thousands of floral tributes, football scarves and shirts have been left outside the stadium

Vardy was key to Leicester City’s Premier League title in 2016 scoring 24 goals that season and breaking the record for goals scored in consecutive league games.

He married Rebekah, who appeared in I’m a Celebrity, that same year and their wedding was attended by Mr Vichai and his son.

A book of condolence has opened at the ground to those who died and buildings have been turned blue in tribute.

There has been a steady stream of people queuing to sign the book.

It has been placed in a marquee outside the club “for the foreseeable future”, with an online version also available.

While Leicester City’s EFL Cup tie against Southampton on Tuesday was postponed, the club confirmed their Premier League match against Cardiff on Saturday would go ahead.

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PA

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People were queuing to sign the book of condolence before doors opened

Nursara Suknamai, Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz also died in the crash on Saturday.

An investigation into the cause of the crash, which saw the helicopter spiral out of control, is under way with the aircraft’s digital flight data recorder already recovered.

Prommanee Sombattpiboon, a Thai student who is studying in Leicester, said she wanted to sign the book as a mark of gratitude.

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Media captionLeicester City owner’s family lay a wreath at the King Power Stadium

“We wanted to pay our respects and leave a message that he means too much to the community here,” she said.

“It felt like such a privilege to be a student here, especially being Thai, it was such a warm welcome.”

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Buddhist monks have set up a shrine and conducted a service outside the stadium

On Monday, Mr Vichai’s wife and son laid a wreath at the stadium.

The club’s first team, youth squad and manager Claude Puel were also at the stadium to see tributes laid by fans.

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Daniel Amartey, who picked up a serious injury in Saturday’s game, also paid his respects on Tuesday

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Getty Images

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Riyad Mahrez, an ex-Leicester player, dedicated his latest goal to Mr Vichai

Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez, a former Leicester player, dedicated his match-winning goal in Monday night’s game against Tottenham to Mr Vichai.

“It’s been very difficult,” he told Sky Sports. “The boss was very special to me, I spent four-and-a-half years there.

“He was such a good person and I’m very, very sad. That’s why I put my hands in the sky for him.”

Former Foxes boss Nigel Pearson who led the team to Championship promotion in 2014 and now manages Oud-Heverlee Leuven in Belgium – another club owned by the King Power Group – has also paid tribute.

He said he “could not have wished for a better boss” and would “miss his guidance and wisdom”.

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Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, two members of his staff, the pilot and a passenger were killed when the aircraft spiralled out of control and crashed in a fireball

A minute’s silence was held at Leicester’s two universities to remember the victims of the crash and fans gathered at the city’s Jalaram Community Centre “for reflection” on the evening the team was due to be playing its EFL cup match.

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Media captionSeeing the helicopter crash will live with us forever – Shilton

Former minister Keith Vaz and Northern Irish MP Jim Shannon – both Foxes supporters – have expressed their gratitude to the club’s owner in the House of Commons.

In an early day motion, Mr Shannon passed on his condolences to the families and thanked Mr Vichai for “the success he brought to Leicester City FC and for the contribution that he made to Leicester University, hospital and other community projects.”

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Bristol City FC

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Bristol City’s Ashton Gate ground was lit blue as a tribute to Leicester City

Buildings across the country, including council offices and sports clubs, have been lit blue – the club colour for Leicester – as a tribute to those who died.

Meanwhile, Thai media has reported arrangements are being put in place to take Mr Vichai’s body back to Thailand.

The Bangkok Post said the Thai and British embassies were working to “prepare the paperwork required for the transport of the body”.

The coroner for Leicester said no date for inquests had yet been set.



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