Tributes paid to 'passionate light aircraft flyer' killed in tragic crash
PUBLISHED: 09:39 05 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:38 06 February 2019
A family has paid tribute to a "wonderful husband, father and grandfather" who died in a light aircraft crash at the weekend.
Stuart Penfold, 54, from Halstead, was killed after the Luton Minor aircraft he was flying crashed at Belchamp Walter, near Sudbury, just before 11.50am on Sunday.
No-one else was on board the aircraft.
In a tribute issued through Essex Police, Mr Penfold’s family said: “In loving memory of a devoted, reliable and wonderful husband, father and grandfather.
“A passionate light aircraft flyer and a keen member of Braintree Motorcycle Club, on a journey to his next destination.”
Braintree and District Motorcycle Club also paid tribute Mr Penfold, who was described as a “club stalwart”.
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A post on the club’s Facebook page read: “It’s with a very heavy heart that we have to report that club stalwart Stuart Penfold was tragically killed in that light aeroplane crash at Belchamp Walter you may have seen in the news yesterday.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family; Richard, Carol and Helen. Stuart put a tremendous amount of work into this club (particularly the running of the junior academy dates) and leaves a massive void we will struggle to fill. RIP our friend.”
Stephen Slater, chief executive of the Light Aircraft Association (LAA), knew Mr Penfold well through the flying organisation.
He said: “My first thoughts go to Stuart’s wife and family, it was a truly tragic accident.
“I knew Stuart for several years, as I owned, restored and flew a similar aircraft. We often shared ideas and advice, something which is common to many members of the Light Aircraft Association around the UK.
“Stuart was a loyal and well liked member of the local LAA Suffolk Coast Regional Group or Strut. He will be remembered for his enthusiasm, good humour and support to many of the Strut’s activities.”
Essex Police said it is assisting the Air Accidents Investigation Branch with its enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the crash.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or saw the aircraft shortly before is asked to contact Braintree Police Station on 101, quoting incident 503 of February 3.