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Prince William, Kate pay tribute to late Leicester City chairman

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LONDON: The UK's Prince William and his wife Kate visited King Power Stadium in Leicester on Wednesday to pay tribute to the club's late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who was killed in a helicopter crash last month.

After sharing a few minutes with the owner's family, including his son Aiyawatt, the duke and duchess of Cambridge left a bouquet of flowers among a sea of other floral tributes close to the crash site.

Mr Vichai's helicopter plummeted to the ground moments after taking off from the pitch following a match against West Ham on Oct 27. The crash also killed four others.

CHARITY WORK

At the club, the royal couple met charities and fans who benefited from Mr Vichai's generosity and Prince William said that Mr Vichai " was the gel, the glue of the community".

He added: "If only more owners (of professional football clubs) took his example of how to benefit the community, be involved."

The duke, who is president of the Football Association, had met the Leicester owner in London to discuss his charity work and football just a few weeks before the crash.

In a speech to officials and players from the club, including star striker and England forward Jamie Vardy, Prince William highlighted Leicester City's incredible Premier League triumph in 2015-16.

"You wrote the best underdog story in the history of modern sport," he said. "And when the man that led this club to victory died so tragically, the people of this city revealed with their outpouring of admiration, that they too shared much of the character that was so central to who Vichai was."

Prince William, a former air ambulance helicopter pilot, revealed he had flown in the past with pilot Eric Swaffer, who died in the accident, describing the experience as a "privilege".

Leicester City fan Kev Butler, 51, said: "There are clubs with load and loads of money but it's not about money, it's about how you treat the fans, how you look after the fans, so these people have been superb." - AFP

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