It has been a tough week for everyone following the events in Shoreham.
It has been a tough week for everyone following the events in Shoreham. The response from the community - and from those connected to football - has been exceptional. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at BBC Sussex go out to everyone affected by the tragedy.
As a broadcaster, it is always a challenge when a story breaks while on air. As the details emerged of what had happened while we were broadcasting from the Amex, it was essential to relay what we knew as clearly, accurately, and delicately as possible, with details from organisations such as Sussex Police.
It was also important to try to get a feel of what had occurred and how people were feeling in the immediate aftermath from eyewitnesses. On a personal level, I have experienced one similar situation while on air, but nothing quite so extreme, and hope – as a station – we managed to set the right tone as we ourselves tried to discover what had happened, while also checking our own friends, family, and workmates were safe.
Colleagues immediately gave up their weekend to help provide the best coverage possible for the listeners and those accessing the BBC website. The events last weekend will continue to have an impact for days, weeks, and years to come and we hope to reflect that every step of the way as a station that serves its community.
Football has its rivalries and its own issues, but the sport has come together as one this week to remember those who lost their lives. The visitors to the Amex at the weekend, Blackburn Rovers, sent messages of condolence and the minute silence at Walsall was impeccably observed by both sets of fans. Teams across the country stood to remember.
Already, events have been organised by many different people and it’s very heartening to hear the kind words of people across the country who appreciate how the town, city, county, and football clubs in Sussex have been affected. I’m sure this will continue as the season goes on and I know those who were lost will never be forgotten by the local footballing community.
Football is a game, after all, but it was a sport loved by some of those who lost their lives. I hope the game can, in some way, help to heal the wounds from the events of Saturday, August 22 2015.