Written by By Jairus Breen, CNN Washington, D.C.
Sophie and Ben Brown, an American couple from New Hampshire, have been leaving candles, flowers and messages in this blackened park, just outside Brussels, Belgium, since Florence Rosberg was electrocuted on June 7, her 100th birthday.
“It’s a huge tragedy and has had a huge impact on the Belgian community, too,” Ben Brown says. “It’s devastating.”
According to local media, after an accident with a gas-powered public hairdryer, Florence was electrocuted while trying to jump the fence protecting Taddle Creek Park, a popular picnic and bike spot near the town of Lokeren.
Rosberg was the granddaughter of triple world championship-winning Formula One driver Niki Lauda. She was born in the Belgian village of Stolzig, above the Carcassonne region, Belgium.
Formula One fan Sophie Brown visited Florence Rosberg’s memorial every day before she died, in Brussels, Belgium. The park is no longer lit at night. She hoped that after her death, the park would be lit at night. Credit: Photo: BRENT KRAIN/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
In Belgium, only one statue has been set up of Rosberg, to commemorate her illustrious grandfather. In honor of her 99th birthday and the start of her 100th year, which is scheduled for November 14, a second statue has been set up to help honor Rosberg’s life. The statue was inspired by a painting of Rosberg wearing an abstract bra decoration:
“She had such a great spirit, she was just a great character,” says Brown. “She loved F1, it was her passion. She watched all of the races. Even in the middle of the night, she was up at 4 a.m. to watch all the races.”
Her wife, Sophie, says that she often leaves flowers and candles at the location, hoping that a crowd will gather, and that the park will be lit at night. But despite her efforts, the park has not been lit at night.
“We have gone down there every day, so we hope that some day, the park will be lit up,” Sophie says. “We have put flags there, we have put all these pictures of Florence. She was known for helping with charities and for giving back, so we are hoping that this will go on until she’s 105.”