Moving tribute to man ‘not afraid to face death’

2013-12-17 00:00

FRIENDS and family paid an emotional tribute to Alick Rennie, one of the pilots who died when a plane crashed into a sugar cane field in Richmond almost two weeks ago.

They packed the Pietermaritzburg Aero Club hanger at Pietermaritzburg airport to capacity with others standing outside at a memorial service on Friday.

The end of the memorial was marked by a piper and a four-plane flypast as a tribute to Rennie.

Rennie (60) and another pilot, David Grosvenor (46), were killed on Wednesday, December 4, during a test flight.

Grosvenor was renewing his pilot licence and Rennie was the instructor.

Their plane disappeared from radar and the control tower could not raise them on radio. The plane wreckage was discovered on Thursday morning by a pilot who was part of the search party. It had crashed nose first into a sugar cane field near Richmond.

Iain Rennie delivered a powerful and moving tribute to his father. He said his father was not afraid of death. “In fact, on that Wednesday morning he told my mother that he was not afraid to face death; perhaps a premonition of his death,” he said.

He described his father as his best friend, mentor and an inspiration, and who lived his life to the full. He said his father’s death had left a void that cannot be filled.

Friends and family members were in tears as they delivered eulogies on the man they loved.

The different speakers all highlighted Rennie’s outgoing personality and spoke of his sporting prowess. He was an Olympic canoeist who competed at the Barcelona games and was a former president of Canoeing South Africa.

Dr Rodney Maud said when he worked with Rennie(they worked on several water and agricultural projects around the continent), he found him to be a true professional.

He also marvelled at his skills as a pilot. “He could spot a landing strip in the cloud, just a small gap; he would say there it is, of course no one else saw anything but him.”

Maud also passed his condolences to the Grosvenor family, saying they too were in pain.

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