Tributes have poured in for well-known Hout Bay resident Anthony Allen who died in a tragic paragliding accident at Llandudno this week.
Mr Allen, 52, who managed the commercial photography and tandem paragliding business, The Aerial Perspective, was known as a committed crime-fighter in Hout Bay, always readily volunteering himself as a patroller and consulting on security initiatives.
According to Hout Bay police spokesperson Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch, Mr Allen had been paragliding from Leeukoppie, Llandudno, on Tuesday afternoon.
“He had an accident and succumbed to his injuries. An inquest docket was opened,” she said.
ER24 spokesperson Ineke van Huyssteen said when paramedics arrived on the scene shortly after 2pm, they found the man lying on the front stoep of a house.
“The man was found to be in a critical condition, and his vital signs deteriorated rapidly. Despite the paramedics’ efforts, they were unable to revive him,” Ms Van Huyssteen said.
“The exact circumstances surrounding the incident is not known, but local authorities attended the scene and will conduct an investigation.”
The tributes have been led by Mr Allen’s sister, Adrienne Allen.
“To me, Ant was an inspiration. I always loved having him as a big brother, and he was pretty much one of the coolest big brothers one could have. He shared many of our late father, Roy Allen’s, passions, which included his interest in the military, marksmanship, motorbikes, aircraft, flying and journalistic/writing skill.”
Adrienne said she was “blown away” by his level of intellect and how articulate he was.
“He was a real go-getter and would never let anything hold him back. We called him Daredevil Ant as he loved adrenalin feulled activities. I once went to watch him, along with my father and brother Sean, perform in a dirtbike racing competition at Green Point stadium in the early 90s. I recall he had an accident in one of those events in which he broke his leg, but he always got back up and went back to what he loved.”
She added Mr Allen had a wicked sense of humour and an infectious laugh and personality.
“He had the ability to assert authority, yet be the best friend you could have. He was devoted and passionate about people. He loved his daughter Leah dearly, and marrying his beautiful wife Bev was another of his great achievements which filled him with pride and happiness. I couldn’t imagine them in a more perfect partnership than the one they had together.”
Allan Dellbridge, of Coastal Security, had known Mr Allen for more than 10 years, and described him as a “leader in crime prevention”.
“He was a knight in shining armour. He worked closely with us at Coastal Security and assisted in upgrading security systems. Ant was always in good humour and was a tireless worker. He was so committed to everything he did,” Mr Dellbridge said.
“I know my son, Mike, also really appreciated him and his work. He will be sorely missed.”
Former Hout Bay resident Elle Bijvoet knew Mr Allen for more than 25 years.
“He and his family lived opposite us in Sea Glades. He was fantastic with the kids. As a paraglider, he was so experienced, and when you did tandem with him, you never felt scared,” she said.
“I remember going up with him, and it was so quiet. I remember him saying to me, ‘Welcome to my office.’ We trusted him with our lives. He always had my back. I am so deeply saddened that he is gone.”
Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch chairperson Andrew Martin said Mr Allen had been a dedicated contributor to crime-fighting and would be remembered for his strong involvement as a volunteer.
Community Crime Prevention said it regretted the loss of one of the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch volunteer members. “He was a fellow crime-fighter in Hout Bay,” the organisation said in a statement.
Bronwyn Moore, of Community Cohesion, the Hout Bay-based non-profit that helps victims of violent crime, said Mr Allen had always alerted the organisation to people in need of assistance.
“He was always following up to see how those referrals were doing. Our condolences to Bev and the family. We want to thank you for sharing Anthony with all of us in Hout Bay,” she said.
Hout Bay ward councillor Roberto Quintas called Mr Allen “one of the most full of life people” he had ever had the pleasure of meeting.
“His passion and commitment to Hout Bay and its people and environment will be sorely missed. His life was lived on principles and an undeterred approach to accountability.”
Warrant Officer Lesch said Mr Allen had always been willing to assist the police, and he would be fondly remembered.
“There was a case earlier this year when he assisted us with drone footage, which was very useful for us. He did such a lot of good in the community,” she said.
The family’s spokesman, Mike Rigg, himself a close friend of Mr Allen for 25 years, said the family would not be commenting at this stage.