Remembering Mike Jeffery – 50 Years On

My previous blog on Ready Steady Gone was about the unveiling of a heritage plaque commemorating a Newcastle venue called the Club a’Gogo – a club that came to an end in 1968. This article features another commemorative plaque marking an event that took place in 1973, five years after the Club a’Gogo closed. The second plaque is over 500 miles from Newcastle but the two plaques have a common link.

The connection is a man who has featured a lot on this website over the years and who died in France exactly fifty years ago today. In the late 1950s and early 1960s this man’s vision and energy changed Newcastle’s night life and music scene for the better by establishing several clubs that were on a par with some of the vibrant London clubs of that era. The same man played a large part in shaping the course of rock music. He was jointly responsible for introducing the world to one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music. At the time he died his name was not that well known so consequently his passing went largely unnoticed. Although the circumstances of his death only caused ripples in the north east they had a devastating effect on the population of a small French village. Something that is still engraved in the memory of the community of that village to this day and continues to be marked with annual remembrance services. The man in question is Mike Jeffery and the French village is La Planche in western France.

My earlier article described how Mike Jeffery opened the Club a’Gogo over six decades ago. On the 8th September 2022, sixty years and a few weeks after the venue first opened the Club a’Gogo was honoured with the plaque. Quite rightly, the plaque acknowledges Mike Jeffery’s achievement and displays both his name and the name of his business partner at the time, Ray Grehan.

Mike Jeffery and Ray Grehan at the opening of the Club a’Gogo in 1962 and the plaque erected 60 years later at the site of the club

Many of those who attended the plaque’s unveiling ceremony were regulars at the Club a’Gogo in its heyday between 1964 and 1967. People went to the Gogo for the music, dancing and to see the great bands of the day. At the time they probably had no interest in the club’s roots as a jazz venue or its founder, Mike Jeffery. In fact in 1964, although Mike Jeffery still owned the club he had left the north east to concentrate on the career of The Animals who he “discovered” at the Gogo in 1963. Some years later he went on to manage Jimi Hendrix along with Chas Chandler, The Animals bass player.

Even as a musician who played at the Club a’Gogo in 1965 and 1966 I knew nothing back then about Mike Jeffery or the part he played in shaping the Newcastle music scene. It is likely, therefore, that the majority of ex-Club a’Gogo members and north east fans of Jimi Hendrix are unaware that today marks the 50th anniversary of Mike Jeffery’s passing. He was only 39 when he died in a plane crash on 5th March 1973.

Over recent years Mike Jeffery has been the subject of very bad press over the way he managed The Animals and, in particular, Jimi Hendrix. Many people believe that Jeffery was either directly or indirectly responsible for Jimi Hendrix’s untimely death. Nevertheless, the way in which he changed the northeast music scene in the sixties and brought enjoyment into the lives of thousands of people cannot be denied. Neither can his influence on rock music for developing the career of Jimi Hendrix. Who knows what else Mike Jeffery may have achieved but for his premature death in La Planche, France in 1973.

La Planche in the early seventies was a small farming community in the Loire-Atlantique area of France. It was quiet, sleepy with not much happening on a day-to-day basis. However, fifty years ago La Planche became the centre of a momentous event – a disaster that had a devastating effect on many lives in France, Spain and the UK. The incident continues to play a part in the psyche of La Planche villagers. Two Spanish passenger planes passing through French air space on their way to the UK were involved in a horrific accident. A Douglas DC-9 flying from La Palma, Mallorca appeared to collide with a Convair Coronado en route from Madrid. The DC-9 exploded in mid air killing all 68 passengers and crew members. The Coronado suffered damage to a wing but was able to safely land at Cognac airport with no loss to life.

The incident involving the DC-9 and Coronado happened on 5th March 1973 at 12.52pm fifteen miles from Nantes at a height of around 29,000 feet (approximately 5 miles). People in the small village of La Planche were going about their daily business. Some farmers and labourers were working in the fields surrounding the village whilst others were engaged in their lives as normal. Some people reported seeing a flash in the sky when the two planes came together. However, it would be around 25 seconds later when the sound of an explosion reached ground level that most of the villagers stopped what they were doing and looked towards the sky. By this time the broken DC-9 and debris from the accident had started falling to earth. It would be a further 20 seconds before the wreckage, frozen bodies and luggage landed in and around the village of La Planche.

Shortly after the midair collision when the skies had cleared thousands flocked to La Planche in order to find out what had happened and offer assistance. Police and ambulances from the neighbouring town of Aigrefeuille-sur-Maine were among the first on the scene. In the meantime the mayor of La Planche, Monsieur Richard was coming to grips with the unfolding tragedy. With the help of locals and the available gendarmes, Mr Richard began gathering up bodies and body parts. Using a tractor and trailer corpses were transferred to a field on the outskirts of the village before being covered over and then placed in makeshift coffins.

The world’s press focussed on the La Planche incident trying to find an explanation for the accident. Was it pilot error; a systems malfunction or more likely the result of a strike by air traffic controllers who had temporarily been replaced by military personnel?

The following day stories about the air disaster started appearing in the press all over the world. Newspaper reports included eye witness accounts of the collision some of which were not easy reading. One witness said she had seen the sky illuminated with streaks of light and flaming torches and then watching the fuselage of the plain landing near her home. Others described the condition of bodies following their five mile plunge to the ground – “… they were broken and completely torn apart.” Several newspapers reported that a two year old baby was among the casualties.

The Times newspaper was quick to publish a list of the passengers and crew who had died. The victims were mostly either English or Spanish citizens with only a few from other nations. Some papers picked up on the fact that several notable people lost their lives. Among those mentioned in later press reports were the race horse owner, Lady Ashcombe from Newbury and Michael Jeffery.

The Times also reported on the row that had broken out between the French and Spanish governments. Both the Douglas DC-9 and the Coronado were Spanish owned planes. Spain alleged that the accident occurred due to negligence by the French military air traffic controllers. France put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Coronado’s Spanish pilot.

Several days after the crash the mayor had the grisly task of trying to match up unrecognisable bodies with the list of passengers and crew supplied by Iberia Airways. In an era that preceded DNA testing by several decades this wasn’t easy but, nevertheless, Monsieur Richard was able to accomplish the task in a few days. After a week most of the bodies and human remains had been repatriated allowing families and loved ones to arrange funerals and cremations in their countries of origin.

Although the loss of 68 lives is tragic, the disaster could have been much worse. There should have been a further 39 passengers aboard the wrecked DC-9 plane. They missed take off because they were travelling from Menorca and their connecting flight to Palma airport in Mallorca was late. The other plane involved was able to land safely with no loss of life or reported injuries to the to the 107 people on board. Unlike the air disaster in Scotland in 1988 in which residents of the town of Lockerbie were killed and buildings were destroyed by aircraft wreckage, no lives were lost on the ground at La Planche. Apart from damage to ploughed fields, the infrastructure of the village remained intact.

Eventually a commission of enquiry was set up to determine the cause of the accident. The conclusion was that there was a failure in communications between the aircraft and air traffic control. This failure resulted in the pilot of the Coronado making an unauthorised manoeuvre which caused the planes to collide.

The people of La Planche erected a stone monument near to the place where the victims bodies and human remains had first been placed. A plaque was attached to the monument as a permanent reminder of the day that aeroplane wreckage and bodies rained down on the village. In 2003, on the thirtieth anniversary of the event, a further plaque was added to the stone monument. None of the victims are named on either plaque but those of us with an interest in Mike Jeffery know that he was one of 68 passengers who perished.

The memorial and plaques at La Planche

Today a special memorial ceremony will take place at La Planche to pay respect to the 68 passengers who lost their lives in the skies above the village fifty years ago. The community will commemorate the 50th anniversary with a religious service. This will be followed by a wreath laying at the site of the monument and then by an official commemoration at the Salle de La Passerelle where newspaper articles relating to the event can be consulted.

Half a century has now passed since the collision between the Douglas DC-9 and the Convair Coronado. Information about the crash can still be found on the internet and in books about air accidents. Most of these reports focus on the cause of the accident and are aimed mainly at people who want to read about the grim side of aviation history.

Apart from the community of La Planche and relatives of the victims, the human side of the tragedy has largely been forgotten. However, I believe it’s likely that interest in every aspect of the crash will be revived in a few months time. An author friend of mine has been thoroughly researching the life and death of Mike Jeffery for the past ten years for a biography he is writing. In the course of his investigations my friend has interviewed many people who played a key part in Jeffery’s life. There will be a lot of new revelations in the forthcoming book. Amongst other things, it will reveal shocking new facts about the air accident at La Planche in which Mike Jeffery perished.

I’ll be writing about the book once it has been published later this year. Watch this space!

13 thoughts on “Remembering Mike Jeffery – 50 Years On

  1. 1

    think you should watch the Eric Burdon Documentary and goes to the Bank in the Carribean where Mr Jeffrey was parking the Animals money and finds that it does not exist!!


  2. 1

    My mother’s husband was in the nightclub business in Newcastle. I was told that it was a difficult business to be in because of criminals exploiting them. So much of your blog rings a lot of bells. He mentioned that a bloke called Hendrix had played at the club, all bloody noise apparently. Anyway having your front door opened by blokes with sledge hammers at 2:00 AM to discuss business arangements was the final straw. Clearly a business for younger folks.


  3. 1

    wow – what sad reading.
    Club Agogo was part of my late teenage years – exciting place and I have many fond memories.
    My brother Fenwick Trainer was the keyboard player in The Invaders – a very popular group that frequently played in the young set – whilst the Alan Price Combo played the the “posh ” set.
    So interesting to hear more of Mike Jefferies life.
    Couldn`t make the plaque unveiling but the Invaders drummer – /dougie Vickers did and sent me photos.
    Thanks Roger for the information.


  4. 2

    As always, extremely well written and extremely interesting.
    As a nocturnal NE teenager I frequented many of these venues including club a’GoGo.
    Although I didn’t know Mike Jeffries I was aware of his reputation but whatever his faults he certainly was the key player in developing what was probably, the most lively and innovative club scene outside of London.
    Indeed, what he created often became an inspiration. For instance I remember a young Keith Gibbon working in the cloakroom at a’GoGo. He went on, together with Cayu Pootshki to create Sunderland’s Annabel’s and Newcastle’s Julies.
    On the negative front, he did know and indeed employ some unsavoury characters. That said, it was par for the course back then. The underworld and nightclub scene were closely linked.


  5. 0

    Did Mike Jeffrey have Jimi Hendrix killed for the life insurance policy on him? Was it a couple of ‘old friends from up north’ as Tappy stated in his book, ‘Rock Roadie’. I remember over thirty years ago having a conversation with my old mate from Newcastle. He said that a couple of guys went down south and did it. We know Mike was in London at the time of Jimi’s death. It could all be a load of rubbish of course, but MJ seemed very well connected and was a man not to be crossed.


  6. 2

    Interesting page!
    The murder theory is complete nonsense. Tappy Wright admitted to Bob Levine (one of Hendrix’s US managers) that he’d merely invented the murder story in order to help sell his book!
    The best work I’ve come across on the subject is at The Jimi Hendrix Record Guide website. There is a page about the death of Hendrix and another one linked to it, all about Jeffery.


  7. 1

    I have read that and thought it was complete fabricated rubbish. The author of that nonsense is famous for being liberal with the truth to the point of absurdity. I’m going to need much more than that poorly written, poorly re bysearched article to sway my mind.


  8. 0

    Has anybody followed the money? Noel Redding never got any. Jimi was unhappy with the money situation. Where is the management contract? Supposedly, Jimi’s contract was to expire in November 1970 with Jeffrey. Produce the contract. Jimi was going to change management. Knowing this, Jeffrey supposedly took out a several million dollar life insurance policy on Jimi’s life. Where is that life insurance policy? When was it written? How much was paid out, to whom, when? This should reveal the truth. Also, the men who stuffed wine down Jimi, there was more than one of them. Did any of them get caught or confess? The ambulance medic drivers story is sketchy. Jimi should have been laid on his side, so vomit could come out. Monika Danneman- her story never got told. Eventually, she was driving to a place to confess the truth around 1990. She never made it to the meeting, as Monika was murdered. Did Monika ever spill the beans to one of her friends over the years? Contracts. Besides money from live gigs, who held the publishing rights to the songs, recordings, master tapes, royalty agreements? Again, follow the money, which should reveal the truth. Charles Chandler was an idiot. Knowing what a terrible experience the Animals had with Jeffrey managing them, how could he is his right mind recommend Jeffrey to Jimi Hendrix? Jimi did speak with Richie Havens about his management and money woes. Can anything be gleaned from their discussions?


  9. 0

    Tom, Thanks for posting. Where do you begin with this one? Noel and Mitch saw very little of the money they were making. They saw none of the royalty payments which forced Noel to take legal action I believe up to his death in 2003. Why did Chas ask MJ to help get Jimi launched in the UK in 1966? I believe he was the only person he knew that had that kind of money to do it. Let’s get one thing straight here…MJ was a night club owner turned act management. He operated the same way with his musical talent as he did with his clubs. Let’s say Mike was from the Don Arden school of talent management. Mike wasn’t afraid to put his hands on Jimi if he felt he was being difficult…and Jimi knew it. He was terrified of Mike Jeffrey because he knew what Mike was capable of.

    Jimi died no later than 5am on the morning of the 18th Sept. He was found alone fully dressed on top of the bed at Dannemann’s bed at the Samarkand Hotel which she was renting. The call to the ambulance was logged at 11.18am but no one knows who made the call. Ambulance attendants Reg Jones and John Saua were on duty that day.

    “The crew on board that morning comprised Reginald Jones, who had been an ambulance attendant for thirty years, and who was driving the ambulance that day, and John Saua, who had been in the service for twenty years. Reg Jones’s usual crew partner was off duty on sick leave, and Saua was his replacement that week. Reg Jones: “It was horrific, we arrived at the flat, the door was flung wide open, nobody about, just the body on the bed. We called out for someone, loads of times, so we walked in. We went into the bedroom, it was very dark because the curtains were still pulled, I mean the gas fire was on but you couldn’t see anything, your eyes had to adjust. He was covered in vomit, there was tons of it all over the pillow, black and brown it was. His airway was completely blocked all the way down, his tongue had fallen back, he was flat on his back you see.

    The room was dark, we had to pull the curtains. Well we had to get the police, we only had him and an empty flat, so John ran up and radioed, got the aspirator too. We felt his pulse between his shoulders, pinched his earlobe and nose, showed a light in his eyes, but there was no response at all. I knew he was dead as soon as I walked in the room, you get a feel for it, I can’t explain it, but you do and I knew he was dead.

    Once the police arrived which seemed like no time at all, we got him off to the hospital as quick as we could. See we just have to keep working on him and we did, my shirt was wringing wet. ‘Cos the ambulances in them days, weren’t equipped like they are now, we had them crazy Wadhams [type of ambulance] in them days, awful they was.

    We took him to St. Mary Abbots. That don’t have a casualty ward now but in them days it did. “That was our designated hospital for the day. There was a ‘bed state’ at St. Charles, you found out at the beginning of your shift what your designated hospital was.”

    Did anyone come along in the ambulance with you? “No, Mr Saua was with Jimi, I didn’t know he was Jimi Hendrix – a bit out of my age group. When we got him to the hospital, we had to clean the ambulance out, it really was a mess. His bowels and bladder, all that goes when you’re dead. That flat must’ve needed a good clean too.” Did you sit him up in the ambulance? “Sit him up? No, you don’t sit people up when they’ve choked. The steps up from the flat were steep, and you had a natural incline on the way up, but no, he wasn’t sat up.” Did you speak to anyone at the flat or on the way? ‘Just the police and hospital staff.”

    John Saua confirms Reg Jones’ story: “Well I remember we had a hell of a time trying to suck him out [with an aspirator]. I mean the vomit was dry, and there was a hell of a lot of it. The aspirators in those days were all right but not like you have today, they couldn’t shift that lot. I mean we knew it was hopeless, nothing would have worked. To tell you the truth, I thought it was an overdose. It wasn’t really my business to diagnose, I just had to keep working. There were no bed clothes on top of him.

    An ambulance crew by law just has to keep on working on him until we get him to hospital. There was no pulse, no respiration. We got down to the flat, and there was nobody but the body on the bed. So we had to radio for the police from the ambulance. We couldn’t touch anything in the flat. As I say, we knew he was gone, he was on top of the bed dressed, but I did not recognize him, don’t know anybody would have recognized him, his mother wouldn’t have recognized him. He was in a pool of vomit, it was everywhere, but we are not doctors, it’s our job to keep trying till we get him to hospital, we can’t proclaim him dead … I vaguely remember taking a sample of the vomit in a container, because we didn’t know what he had taken.

    So as soon as the police arrived, we were off. I was in the back with Jimi, Reg drove. When we moved him, the gases were gurgling, you get that when someone has died, it wasn’t too pleasant. The vomit was all the way down, we couldn’t have got an airway down. He was flat on his back, it’s a shame he wasn’t on his side because he probably would have pulled through.

    “Neither John Saua nor Reg Jones had spoken to each other since the week they had worked together in September 1970. Reg’s usual crew partner had returned and John went back to his own station – yet their recollections remain strikingly similar.

    John Saua was interviewed for the BBC Radio One’s Wink Of An Eye broadcast on September 10, 1995. On the programme he said: “there’s a standard procedure especially for someone who’s unconscious. They travel on their side. All the equipment is there at his head if you need to do resuscitation, anything like that, it’s all there ready to use.” He reiterates the fact that Monika did not travel with them to the hospital. “There was just me and the casualty and Reg the driver. Nobody else.”

    In January 1992, David Smith, Press and Public Affairs Manager of the London Ambulance Service, issued an official statement after conducting his own investigation into the conduct of the Ambulance men that morning. “In light of our extensive enquiries it is apparent that the ambulance men acted in a proper and professional manner,” his statement said. “There was no one else, except the deceased, at the flat [22 Lansdowne Crescent, London WI] when they arrived; nor did anyone else accompany them in the ambulance to St. Mary Abbots Hospital.”

    At about 11:30 pm, PC Ian Smith and PC Tom Keene, police officers attached to nearby Notting Date police station, responded to the call from ambulance HQ and went to the Samarkand Hotel. They arrived within minutes of getting the call.

    Ian Smith, now a publican in Aylesbury, remembers that day vividly: “We went to a basement flat at Lansdowne Crescent. The ambulance men were there but Jimi was dead. It wasn’t very pleasant, they had to take some of the bedding from around him. He was dressed but there was a lot of mess, so they just wrapped it around his body and took him off. There was really nothing they could do for him. We followed them up the stairs. I watched them put him in the ambulance and take off.” Asked if there was anyone else there, Smith replied. “No, I remember quite clearly the doors shutting on the crew and Jimi. We just closed up the flat as there was no one about. If she’d (Monica) been in the flat, they would never have called us to come, because they just could’ve taken him as normal. But because no one was there, he was dead and circumstances were a little odd, suspicious, they radioed their control to get us in. It wasn’t until later in the day that I found out that it was Jimi Hendrix.”

    In a subsequent interview with the author, Smith stated: “I’ve had a few people coming to interview me. Basically all I can tell them is that I was around at the time, I didn’t see him, I was there as they were carrying him out. I didn’t know who he was till later.” Tom Keene, the second police offer at the scene, has never been located.

    On arrival Jimi was immediately seen by Dr. John Bannister, a Surgical Registrar, and shortlyafter by Dr Martin Seifert, the Medical Registrar on duty that day. Dr. Bannister is now anOrthopaedic Surgeon working in Australia. After reading Harry Shapiro’s Hendrix biography Electric Gypsy, in particular the pages that concerned Jimi’s death, he wrote directly to Shapiro on January 9, 1992.

    The following is an extract from his letter: “Some of the statements [about Hendrix’s death] were incorrect. At the time of his death, I was the Surgical Registrar on duty at St. Mary Abbots Hospital. I was called to casualty with one or two other Medical Officers. The ambulance had brought in a patient who was unconscious. He was taken out of the ambulance and wheeled into casualty. We attempted resuscitation and cardiac massage. Continual suction on his pharynx and larynx was performed. “On his admission, he was obviously dead. He had no pulse, no heart beat and the attempt to resuscitate him was merely a formality, an attempt we would perform on any patient in such condition. His mucous membranes in the larynx and pharynx were completely cyanosed and prior to suction there was red wine and gastric contents exuding from his mouth. The very striking memory of this event in my mind was the considerable amount of alcohol in his pharynx and larynx, despite suction,and it was obvious that he had drowned in his own gastric contents.

    “At the time I was not aware who Jimi Hendrix was, but it was pointed out to me soon after. “I recall vividly the very large amounts of red wine that oozed from his stomach and his lungs, and in my opinion there was no question that Jimi Hendrix had drowned, if not at home then certainly on the way to the hospital. At the time I felt he had either been on sedative tablets, to sleep or otherwise, and that he had imbibed copious amounts of red wine prior to going to sleep. I would suspect that he regurgitated the red wine and drowned.

    “I note in your book that someone suggested he should have perhaps had a tracheotomy. He would not have responded to such treatment and it was not even a possibility. I would suspect that he had been dead for quite some time before he reached the hospital and there was no indication to proceed to tracheotomy. “I do not believe that he was admitted into hospital and that he was taken to the morgue directly from Casualty. “I can recollect my own feeling at the time … that it was a tragic loss of a young person to the effects of alcohol. The scene remains extremely vivid in my memory, and I can quite clearly recall the large amounts of red wine causing his hair and clothes to be matted.”

    In another interview, conducted by The Tinta newspaper and published on December 18, 1993, Dr. John Bannister gave an even more vivid account of Jimi’s condition: ‘Jimi Hendrix had been dead for some time, without a doubt, hours rather than minutes. He didn’t have any pulse. The inside of his mouth and mucous membranes were black because he had been dead for some time. He had had no circulation through his tissues at any time immediately prior to coming to hospital.” Dr. Bannister expressed surprise that accounts of Jimi Hendrix’s death, including the pathologist’s inquest report, had failed to mention that Jimi Hendrix had been drinking ‘masses’ of red wine. “It was coming out of his nose and out of his mouth. It was horrific. The whole scene is very vivid, because you don’t often see people who have drowned in their own red wine. There was red wine all over him, I think that he was naked but he had something around him – whether it was a towel or a jumper – around his neck. That was saturated in red wine. “His hair was matted. He was completely cold. I personally think he probably died a long time before. He was cold and he was blue. He had all the parameters of somebody who had been dead for some time. We worked on him for about half an hour without any response at all. There was a medical registrar, myself, nursing staff and I think one other doctor. I didn’t even know who Jimi Hendrix was. It’s tragic that such a bloke died in those circumstances. The medical staff used an 18 inch metal sucker to try to clear Hendrix’s airway, but it would just fill up with red wine from his stomach.”

    Dr. Bannister was also interviewed for the BBC Radio One’s Wink Of An Eye, broadcast on September 10, 1995. “He did not have an obstruction of the airways,” Dr Bannister told the interviewer. “What he had, was that he had a drowning of the airways. His lungs were completely overcome by fluid. One does a tracheotomy to get better access to the trachea and to the airways. But his problems were below that. The body was cold, there were no signs of circulation and my overall impression was that he’d been dead for some hours before.” It is curious that despite the copious amounts of red wine that Jimi had in his body, his blood alcohol level was low. It is also curious that Jimi was covered in so much red wine. Dr. Bannister’s statement that the red wine was matted in his clothes and hair might imply that it had been poured over him and left to dry. He could have been soaked in wine for hours.

    Monika Dannemann has always stated that Jimi drank only one bottle of white wine with his dinner earlier in the evening. In one of her many interviews, she claimed that Jimi purchased two bottles of wine, one white and one red. She also claimed to have kept the empty red wine bottle.

    I personally believe Jimi was murdered by Mike Jeffery and his two main enforcers. Tappy Wright tells us he sedated and then his airways drowned in red wine with the help of, ‘some old friends from’ Up North’ Get Carter style. Who were these men? someone must know.


  10. 1

    All I can say is that the Ambos did a job we would not have done. I was an Ambo for some years. Back in 1980, we would have just declared a crime scene and called the cops. In fact we did a similar job. Reported as young man with “nose bleed” at 2:30 am. We found a fully clothed young bloke, stone cold dead with vomit coming out of his nose. We didn’t attemp resus. We called the cops and stopped his girl friend from entering the room. She went ballistic, calling us murderers, saying you should be doing cpr etc. She was charged with manslaughter that same day. She injected him with heroin and was obviously keen to get the syringes with her fingerprints on out of the room. She got 8 years.


  11. 0

    Hi mate,
    Yes, it was a crime scene. That’s why Eric Burdon and crew cleaned the flat prior to calling ambulance. Its also important to know that they didn’t know it was Jimi Hendrix as all his ID had been removed by management. As far as the ambos and Police were concerned it was just another dead black junkie.


  12. 0

    My friend, Xenia Sharman was also on that flight March 5th 1973 as were several other passengers from the North East of England (Newcastle). Xenia was coming home from Mallorca to close up her house and was going back to Mallorca to a new job and a new start. I worked with her at Newcastle Polytechnic (now Northumbria University). I went home early from work to get tea ready as I was going to pick her up and bring her to my flat. I had the TV on, but wasn’t taking a lot of notice when the news came about the flight number. I was transfixed because she left her flight number with me. I immediately phoned the contact telephone no. I was told by the airline that Xenia was on that flight. I knew she had a brother who had a garage in Newcastle. I found the garage no. and spoke to Douglas, her brother and told him of the situation. Unfortunately Douglas and Xenia were not on speaking terms at that time so he didn’t know where she was or what she was doing. I gave him the contact telephone no and told him to contact the airline, which he did.
    Several years later we went to live in Seaton Village, Nr Sunderland. My son Glenn was at the local Infant school. I was invited for coffee at Jonathan’s house by his mother Maureen. Went for coffee one morning and Glenn and Jonathan were in another room playing with Mecanno. Maureen went to make coffee and I went to sit in her front room whilst she made the coffee. I was immediately drawn to a photograph on her fireplace. I thought I’d seen it before, but couldn’t think where. When Maureen came in with the coffee I asked her ‘Maureen who is that in the photograph?’. She told me that it was her husbands brother a Doctor who had been killed on a flight from Mallorca together with his housekeeper who had gone to see his apartment on Mallorca. She didn’t want to go and was worried about a flight on an aeroplane.
    It was a very strange experience as I immediately realised that I’d seen the photograph in the local paper telling of the tragedy that the Doctor from Earsdon was killed along with his housekeeper on March 5th 1973 on a flight from Mallorca the same flight as my friend Xenia Sharman and of course Mike Jeffery from the Club a Gogo.
    Dr Colin Hindson, was the brother of the Doctor from Earsdon who had been in the air crash. He thought it a such an unusual experience that I knew Xenia, never knew his brother, to think that I’d seen his brothers photo and that the two were linked to the fatal air crash. I’d never been to Seaton Village, never knew the area at all, to think that I’d seen that photo of the Doctor from Earsden, together with his housekeeper and Xenia in a newspaper several years before was to say the least unnerving. The flight was on a collision course because the Air Traffic Controllers were on strike and so the mid air collision occurred.


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