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Tributes paid to ex-Wellington cricketer killed in Sydney seaplane crash

By Harry Leather | Wellington | News | Published:

Richard Cousins died alongside his two sons, fiancee and daughter on New Year's Eve.

Wellington Cricket Club member Richard Cousins died in a plane crash in Sydney

Tributes have been paid to the former Shropshire cricketer killed in the Sydney New Year's Eve seaplane crash.

Richard Cousins died alongside his sons Will and Edward, his fiancee Emma Bowden and her young daughter Heather in the crash on Sunday.

The family were on holiday in Australia, and FTSE 100 chief executive Mr Cousins had been planning to watch the final Ashes test in Sydney before returning to the UK, retiring in Easter and marrying Ms Bowden in July.

Sydney Seaplanes pilot Gareth Morgan also died in the crash, which happened when the small plane apparently nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River, 25 miles north of Sydney, at around 3pm on New Year's Eve.

Mr Cousins used to bat for Wellington Cricket Club's second team when he lived in the town in the late 1980s and was also chairman of the club's cricket committee for several years.

Police on the Hawkesbury River, near where the seaplane crashed

The club today paid tribute to the 58-year-old, who retained his Wellington CC membership until his death.

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“It is very tragic news, particularly for those who played cricket with Richard," secretary Peter Byram said.

"He had so much to look forward to. On his return from watching the final two Ashes matches he planned to retire at Easter and marry in July."

Mr Cousins lost his first wife Caroline to cancer around three years ago.

The single-engine DHC-2 Beaver Seaplane

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A statement on the cricket club's website added that Mr Cousins had recently moved to London from Amersham in Buckinghamshire, but said he remained a 'very popular' member.

Mr Cousin's sons Will and Edward were aged 25 and 23 respectively, while Ms Bowden was aged 48 and her daughter Heather was 11 years old.

Pilot Mr Morgan was aged 44.

Friends and colleagues described Mr Cousins as "well known and respected" after he helped transform Compass Group's fortunes upon becoming the ailing catering firm's boss in 2006.

A piece of debris is recovered from the crash

Paul Walsh, Compass chairman, said: "It has been a great privilege to know Richard personally and to work with him for the last few years.

"Richard was known and respected for his great humanity and a no-nonsense style that transformed Compass into one of Britain's leading companies."

Mr Cousins' son Will was head of press for campaigners Open Britain, and was described by the group's chairman Roland Rudd as an "extraordinary young man" who would be "missed beyond words", while Edward had recently graduated from The University of St Andrews in Fife.

Surrey County Cricket Club chief executive Richard Gould also paid tribute to Mr Cousins

Mr Gould said: "Richard was a regular and very popular visitor to the Kia Oval, and a great supporter of cricket.

"He was a member of all 18 first-class counties.

"This is a tragic incident."

Investigators say they will be looking into whether there were any similarities to incidents involving the same model of seaplane, including one which killed another British family in 2015.

The incident has drawn comparisons to a crash in Quebec, Canada, in August 2015, involving another CHC-2 Beaver plane, in which a British family of four died.

Harry Leather

By Harry Leather
Digital Journalist - @hleather_star

Digital journalist covering breaking news across the region from the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton.

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