Dead pilot’s family say thanks for fund-raising tribute

Andrew Cantle

Andrew Cantle

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THE parents of a pilot killed in an air crash today thanked generous Wearsiders who supported a charity collection in his memory.

Andrew Cantle, 27, and Spanish colleague Jordi Lopez, 31, were making a third attempt to bring down a turboprop aircraft in thick fog after a flight from Belfast to Cork.

Both Mr Cantle, from Moorside, and Mr Lopez died along with four passengers, including a relation of Ireland’s President Mary McAleese. Six others aboard survived the crash at Cork Airport earlier this year.

Mr Cantle, who was co-pilot on the flight, was also a well-known member of the RNLI, taking part in 65 emergency missions and rescuing 66 people during his eight years as a volunteer.

Today, his mum Anne and dad John said a “huge thank you” for all the donations made to the Sunderland station following their son’s death.

The £3,300 given to the charity in his memory will be used to fund an RNLI Casualty Care Advanced First Aid training course for 12 volunteers.

“As a family we loved, adored and were extremely very proud of Andrew, but we hadn’t realised what impact he had on so many people,” said Anne.

“We would also like to thank everyone for the beautiful flowers, cards and kind words received.

“One of Andrew’s fellow crewman and good friend stated: ‘When you met Andrew you liked him but when you got to know him you loved him’.

“Never was there more a true statement made.”

Mr Cantle first became involved with Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat station in 2000 when he decided to serve with the charity as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

After completing it in 2001, he stayed on and served as a crewman before gaining promotion to Inshore Lifeboat Helmsman.

He was based at the station until 2008, when he moved to York to take up a career as an airline pilot.

Paul Nicholson, senior helmsman at Sunderland RNLI, said: “The training course will prove to be a fitting memorial to Andy who was a great friend and colleague to us all.

“The skills learnt by the 12 volunteers at the station will allow them to provide first class medical care to our casualties and ultimately save lives.

“All Andy wanted to do was help and look after others - whether this was at work as a pilot or as a crewman onboard an RNLI lifeboat - and this training will help us to continue helping the local people who need our help.”