Son pays tribute to dad after Portrush wedding tragedy

Police at the scene on Dunluce Road Portrush where a man's body was found around 9am on Sunday morning. Pic: Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia
Police at the scene on Dunluce Road Portrush where a man's body was found around 9am on Sunday morning. Pic: Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

A grieving son has paid an emotional tribute to his rally star dad after a night of fun at a wedding turned to tragedy.

A man’s body was discovered at the side of a road leading into Portrush sparking a police investigation.

The deceased was Glenn Allen from Cookstown, well-known in local rallying circles.

His son, 23-year-old Philip Allen, said: “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 my 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 too and I 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.

“He couldn’t ask for any better than my dad, every one 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.

“We were standing at the bar and he made fun of us drinking and I was making fun of him and that was that,” said Philip who has a sister (21).

Ulster Unionist councillor Trevor Wilson said: “Glenn ran a very successful body work business just outside Cookstown.

“He was very well known in the Cookstown community, it’s a terrible tragedy and thoughts and prayers are with all his family at this particular time.

“I met him on many occasions, he was very hard working and was always so helpful. If your car had broken down or you were in an accident he would have been the first to pull you out.

“He was a very successful rally driver and he was heavily involved in it. If he damaged the car he was able to repair it himself.

“The people of Cookstown will be very shocked at his death.”

Irish Rallying posted a tribute on their Facebook page, stating: “Very sad to hear 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.”

One Facebook user 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 with out you boss.”

A man 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 where a wedding reception was held.

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

On Sunday at the hotel, staff and customers were stunned that a night of celebration had turned to tragedy.

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.”

A hotel customer said: “It can be very difficult to get a taxi here on a Saturday night and we think he must have decided to walk into the town.

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 and 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.”

Police said on Sunday they were investigating the death of a man whose body was found by a member of the public at Dunluce Road at 9am that day.

A post mortem was scheduled to take place on Monday to determine how this man died.

Chief Inspector Mark McClarence said on Sunday: “At this time the cause of death is unclear and as such the Dunluce Road will remain closed until after the post mortem.”