Sarah Redheffer was hosting a conference in a restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center 20 years ago today
A woman from Enfield who died in the 9/11 terror attacks 20 years ago today will be remembered in a special service this weekend.
On the morning of 11th September 2001, Sarah Redheffer was hosting a conference for her employer, technology publisher Risk Waters Group, at the Windows on the World restaurant on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower.
The 35-year-old, who grew up in Devon, had married American Eric Redheffer in 1998 and the couple made their home in Woodlands Road, Enfield, even though both would regularly travel to New York for work.
Sarah’s role was conference operations manager and she would organise large events at various locations; the Risk Waters Financial Technology Congress on 11th September 2001 was the first time the World Trade Center had been booked as a venue for the company.
At the time of the first plane striking the building at 8.46am, the conference was just commencing. Sixteen Risk Waters staff members were present, along with 71 attendees and 72 restaurant staff. The impact of the plane hitting the tower several floors beneath cut off all potential escape routes, and no-one there survived.
Information for relatives in the aftermath of the attack was scant and Sarah’s family spent several days waiting anxiously for news that never came; her remains were not recovered. It was a similar story for most of the other 2,977 victims that day.
Sarah’s father David Prothero was a reverend at a church in Bath and led a service for her a month after her death; the congregation at St Mary Magdalen Chapel will again host a remembrance event tomorrow, when both Sarah’s parents will be present.
The current chaplain of the church, Reverend Jacky Wise, said: “Many people will be sharing their pain and loss, standing alongside David and Sue, and all the families who have lost loved ones.
“It’s appropriate that we share in their grief on this significant anniversary. We can stand with them, thinking of all the lives – all the hopes and plans of each one – that were shattered during this horror.”
Sarah is remembered fondly by her former colleagues at Risk Waters, now called Waters Technology. A memorial page on the company’s website commemorates the lives of all 16 staff who died. They describe Sarah as “a tornado of energy and enthusiasm when the rest of us would need to stop for air”.
It continues: “The faith and trust Sarah placed in her team made us a unique force and we count ourselves so very fortunate to have met such a youthful and vibrant spirit.
“Dedicated, professional and caring are just a few of the qualities that she brought to the workplace. Sarah could be relied upon to bring humor to any situation and had an enviable habit of turning difficult situations around.
“How many people could organize dinner for 400 at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris and make each and everyone feel as if the evening had been arranged just for them? Sarah could.”