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Churches offer prayers as Leicester mourns death of football club owner

by Cara Bentley

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was among five people killed shortly after taking off from the King Power Stadium in a helicopter on Saturday.

Covenant Life Church is just a stone's throw away from the crash site and held prayers for the families on Sunday.

Kevin Owen, part of the leadership team at the church was at the game before the crash. He told Premier's News Hour: "I'd been home about 20 minutes, I'd been watching BT sport and they had a picture of the helicopter in the background in the centre of the pitch about to take off and then a few minutes later they came back with breaking news about the helicopter which was unbelievable, we didn't expect to hear anything like that."

He explained that many Leicester city fans admired Srivaddhanaprabha because he put a lot of effort into the club and gave a lot to the community: "I think Vichai had a great personality that brought the city together. So, two years ago he brought the city together in triumph and a lot of people are just full of grief and sorrow." He said many people were visibly upset as they'd lost "part of the family."

When Srivaddhanaprabha bought the club in 2010 they were a mid-table Championship side, but defying all odds they won the Premier League in 2016.

Mr Owen said their owner was "in some ways a father figure to so many people - of a football community, but he went beyond that and it's just an absolute shock"

Describing how the church plans to support the community, he explained: "We prayed as a church community yesterday as I'm sure many other churches did in Leicester and beyond.

He added: "We're available, we've got groups and there's another church just down the road, the Chroma church, which also is local to the stadium - we each work with groups that are available.

Chroma Church offered their prayers on twitter, saying: "We stand together as Leicester City, and in the midst of sadness our thoughts and prayers go to the families affected and everyone at LCFC". 

Vicar of Holy Trinity Church Leicester said: "Thoughts and prayers for everyone touched by the helicopter crash at @LCFC yesterday- shocking news". 

Kevin Owen added: "I think every church in the city will be mindful of the fact that people around will be effected, whether they're football supporters or not."

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