Tributes paid to Wirral businessman killed in Florida golf trip crash BUSINESSMAN Malcolm Allanson is pictured holding his new granddaughter . . . just weeks before he was killed on a golfing trip.
The 59-year-old former electronics engineer, of Wallasey, had invited five friends from Wirral to stay in his Florida holiday home when a driver smashed into their mini-van at a red light on Monday at 9.17pm local time.
Front passenger Fred Hibberd, 65, landlord of the Perch Rock Pub
, in New Brighton, is being treated after suffering suspected paralysis from the waist down.
His son Joe, 41, a property developer, is undergoing reconstructive surgery on his arm.
Friend Wayne Maycock, 50, who had previously worked with Mr Allanson, lost a leg and broke his other leg and arm, as well as suffering rib injuries.
Wallasey friends Paul Boon, 61, and the driver, Stuart Gemmel, 44, also suffered injures, but they are not thought to be life-threatening.
Father-of-two Mr Allanson’s son Neil, 31, and his wife Kathy had given him a granddauhter just four weeks ago, Holly Paige.
His daughter Julie and her husband Paul are parents of Mr Allanson’s first grandchild, Connor, four.
Julie is pregnant with a grandchild he will now never see.
His girlfriend Linda Connor has travelled to the USA with Mr Allanson’s son Neil.
His sister Brenda Hughes told the ECHO: “Mal would have been 60 next month. He was a real practical joker, such fun to be around.
“We were all looking forward to playing some pranks on him and celebrating his birthday.
“When police called on Neil, he called me up to tell me and he could barely speak, but eventually I found out what had happened.
“Mal was overjoyed to become a grandad for the second time four weeks ago and it is especially sad he was going to become a grandad again by his daughter Julie.
“He adored being a grandad and was really looking forward to the birth of another.”
Mr Allanson built up the commercial glazing firm Royal Extrusions, which he started in 1984, taking the business from his garage in Village Way, Wallasey, to the North Cheshire trading estate, where it now employs 24 people and has an annual turnover of £3m.
He had bought a house near a Florida golf course to indulge his passion for the sport, but still kept firm control of his business when he was away.
Mrs Hughes added: “I visited him there just last year.
“He got out there as often as he could but he was a total workaholic – he would be up at 4am working and keeping in touch via email and the internet.
“He travelled out to Florida on October 15 and the lads went out to meet him on October 21.
“He ran an open house and everyone was welcome to come and visit him – he was generous to a fault.
“He knew Joe Hibberd through the golf club and business.
“Our dad is still alive – he is 83 and obviously he is devastated, but we are from a big family and we are all rallying round for him.
“He was such a well-known man in the business community. We have been inundated with messages from well wishers and we have had staff here in the office sobbing.
“It was very much a family business and Mal loved surrounding himself with people he knew and getting them involved in all aspects of the work.
“He was the ultimate professional. His focus was always doing the best job possible.“Everybody adored him.”
Staff at Royal Extrusions sent a personal message of condolence praising “our great boss, but you were so much more, a great friend who treated us more like family”.
They said Mr Allanson’s background in electronics gave him a comprehensive knowledge of the software used to mount large-scale glazing jobs and the company had worked on big projects such as supermarkets and Liscard’s Cherry Tree Centre.
They added professionals would often seek advice on technical issues.
Joe Hibberd is now being treated with Mr Boon at Florida hospital memorial medical centre, while local reports said Mr Gemmel was being treated with Mr Maycock and Fred Hibberd at Halifax medical centre.
Police in Florida arrested 47-year-old Lamar Elton on suspicion of being drunk when he smashed into the group’s mini-van atthe junction of International Speedway Avenue and Midway Avenue.
He escaped unscathed, though a golden retriever dog sitting on his lap was killed.
Police are awaiting toxicology reports before charges are made.
Local reports said Elton was involved in nine traffic offences since 1997 and was cited twice in 1999 on a motorcycle, once for riding 104mph in a 65mph area and then for doing 85 mph in a 55mph area.
He also spent two days in jail for disorderly intoxication in 2002 THE ECHO