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Tributes paid to Antrobus man John Backhouse who died in Caernarfon airport crash

"He was a truly lovely man"

A pilot who was killed when his plane crashed at Caernarfon airport has been named as 62-year-old John Backhouse from Antrobus in Cheshire.

Mr Backhouse sadly passed away in the crash on Wednesday (September 6), when his small aircraft came down on the runway of the airport.

He was a successful businessman who has been described as a 'truly lovely man' by former colleagues.

He was also patron of Liverpool charity Kids In Need and Distress (KIND), whose founder Stephen Yip has told of how Mr Backhouse had been instrumental in raising funding for the organisation, using his aviation skills to ferry potential donors up to one of its sites in Scotland.

Mr Yip told our sister paper The Daily Post: "He was a truly lovely man. When we had a centre in Scotland he used to fly people up there for us. When you'd ask people would they come up to Scotland they wouldn't be sure because of how long it would take to travel there, but we'd be able to say 'No, it'll only be half an hour of 40 minutes'.

"When people arrived at the airport and saw what they were travelling in they'd be like 'wow, I'm glad I'm coming on this'. It was a luxury plane that you could fit around eight people in and have drinks on board.

"On the way back he'd do a fly past of Blackpool tower.

"He did around eight runs for us and they were always successful. People would always donate.

"He was a very generous man, not only with his time but also with his plane.

"We still sent him a Christmas card every year and always felt he would be there if we needed him."

Stephen Fitzsimmons, who served on Liverpool council alongside Mr Backhouse in the same ward, Woolton, said: "'My thoughts are with (his wife) Sarah and the children at this immensely sad time for them and John's family and friends.

"John was a great councillor for Woolton and Gatearce for many years, helping many constituents and solving their problems in an extremely professional manner, no fuss, no publicity, just help.

"He negotiated a deal with the council that saved Marie Curie many thousands of pounds on the entrance and exit roadworks to the Hospice in Woolton, again, no fuss, no publicity, just help.

"John was a great council colleague and helped many, many others, again no fuss, no publicity, just help."

Mr Backhouse went to school at Bootle Grammar School for Boys. He forged a successful business career as a director of numerous property, aviation and finance firms.

But he also served as a councillor in Liverpool, being one of the last Tories to sit on the city authority, losing his seat in 1996. He also stood for the party in several general elections around the North West and Midlands.

(Image: Daily Post Wales)

He is understood to have moved to his home in Antrobus, Cheshire, where he had his own private airfield from which he flew his plane.

It is believed he set off from there on Wednesday, possibly on route to Ireland, but was forced to make an unscheduled attempt to land at Caernarfon airport at around 6.20pm.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing the plane coming into land at speed before they saw a 'massive fireball'.

A formal identification of Mr Backhouse's body is yet to take place.

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