Sunday 25 August 2019

Son's emotional tribute to rally ace dad following tragic death

Cookstown’s Glenn Allen (front) with co-driver Damien Connolly
Cookstown’s Glenn Allen (front) with co-driver Damien Connolly

Cate McCurry and Nevin Farrell

A grieving son has paid an emotional tribute to the rally star father he idolised after a night of fun at a wedding turned to tragedy.

The body of Glenn Allen was found on Dunluce Road leading in to Portrush at 9am yesterday, sparking a police investigation.

The Cookstown man was well-known in local rallying circles.

His son, 23-year-old Philip Allen, told the Belfast Telegraph: "I love him to bits and he's been my mentor all through my life. He pushed me on through loads of ups and downs.

"I'm going to miss him. He gave me good advice all through my life; only for him I would have very little to do. I'd idolised my dad growing up and he was a great inspiration.

"I was at the wedding and watched him walk out and thought he was getting a taxi. You just don't expect it, he was perfectly healthy, he enjoyed the craic and was the life and soul of the party.

"You couldn't ask for any better than my dad, everyone knew him and he didn't have any enemies, everyone loved him.

"If I do half as well as he did, I'll be very happy.

Police at the scene on Dunluce Road, Portrush
Police at the scene on Dunluce Road, Portrush

"We were standing at the bar and he made fun of us drinking and I was making fun of him and that was that."

Police Chief Inspector Mark McClarence said the cause of death was not yet clear. A post mortem is due today.

Irish Rallying posted a tribute on its Facebook page, stating: "Very sad to hear of the passing of Glenn Allen. Glenn was no stranger to the forestry stages and was always a hard man to beat. Condolences to the family and friends of Glenn. R.I.P."

Alan McGeenhan said: "I cannot believe I am putting this up, but a very good and close friend has been taken away from us. Glenn Allen, the world will not be the same without you boss."

Michael Staunton posted on Twitter: "Sad day for Irish Rallying with the passing of Glenn Allen. Thoughts and prayers with his family."

Mr Allen had spent the evening at the Royal Court Hotel on the outskirts of Portrush.

It is understood he left to walk the two miles into the centre of the town where he was believed to have been staying at a holiday home.

Last night, hotel staff and customers were stunned. Hotel owner Jennifer O'Kane said: "We would like to pass on our condolences following this awful tragedy. Everybody is shocked at what has happened."

Another customer said he knew Mr Allen and added: "Glenn was down here for the wedding last night. It is a terrible tragedy. Glenn was some craic, he was the best of a fella."

The Dunluce Road, which runs past Royal Portrush golf course, was sealed off for several hours on Sunday. Near the cordon, Meta Edgar, from the Skerries Holiday Park, said: "Everybody is shocked that this has happened, especially with Christmas approaching; there will be a sad home."

At nearby Rathmore Golf Club Irene Dickson said: "It is shocking that this has happened."

Belfast Telegraph

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