In January 2006, the very popular paramotor pilot Johan Bossuyt was involved in a tragic flying accident on his home field in Belgium, in which both he and his passenger Bert Declercq lost their lives, flying a tandem trike.
Johan was well known throughout the European paramotoring scene for his friendliness, sportsmanship, flying ability and for his willingness to give to others. His generosity of spirit often found him repairing another competitors' engines through the night, so they could continue in the competition the following day. This was often to his own detriment - but such was the generosity of this extraordinary man.
Following his death, many British Pilots joined pilots from all around the world, and made their way to Belgium to show their love and support for his family by attending his funeral. This was a very moving ceremony with in excess of 1000 people attending. A true demonstration of how Johan had touched the lives of so many.
Inspired by Johan's spirit and selfless giving to others, it was decided that a trophy would be made in his memory and given annually to any individual in the UK Paramotoring scene who best encompassed the same ethos and ideals. The trophy is presented at the British Paramotoring Championships, this being the venue where we had all got to know Johan originally and where some of his overseas pilot friends still join us to enjoy and participate in the competition.
At concept, the trophy winner was nominated each year and agreed from amongst those who had originally donated to the memorial fund. The winners were not necessarily an individual who had given to the fund but anyone worthy of receiving the recognition of services to the sport.
However in 2009 it was agreed that this should be widened out to include all those in the UK paramotoring community, giving it a structure and process that will take it forward in perpetuity. We wanted to find a way that no one individual, or committee, had the ongoing responsibility and decision making for this, but that the management of the Trophy automatically would evolve. The process and structure are detailed on a separate page, but in essence the current holder of the award is responsible for organising the nominations and presentation the following year. The decision of whom it should be awarded to is made from nominations from any/all UK paramotor pilots, the ultimate winner being decided by the past 3 trophy winners, through consultation and debate. In this way we aim to achieve openness, clarity, fairness and perpetuity, without the involvement of the original instigators.
The trophy will live on in this way as a permanent memorial to our friend Johan Bossuyt.