Tributes to rally driver killed in crash

Andy Mort With partner Sarah Everitt
Andy Mort With partner Sarah Everitt
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It was meant to be a new life settling on his dream island after the ordeal of beating leukaemia.

However, only two weeks after Andy Mort left Lancashire to begin life on the Isle of Mull with partner Sarah Everitt, he was killed in a tragedy at the Mull Rally.

Andy Mort, 47, who was killed in the Mully Rally on the Isle of Mull

Andy Mort, 47, who was killed in the Mully Rally on the Isle of Mull

Andy, 47, was co-driving for rising rally star John MacCrone when they crashed into a field on Saturday. Andy was killed at the scene and John was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries but is now believed to be stable.

Andy was part of the team at Pro-Tech Performance Motorsports at Clifton Business Park, Clifton, Preston, for the last 20 years and his motorsport team mates are full of shock of the tragedy.

Allan Durham, partner at Pro-Tech Performance with his son Mark, says Andy had only recently moved from his home in Cleveleys, near Blackpool for a new start on the Scottish island.

He said: “Andy had an infectious personality and had a real zest for life.

“He realised he had been given a second chance with life (after having cancer) and grabbed it living each day to the full.

“Andy had a home out in Spain and split his time between there and with Sarah in Cleveleys.

“Only two weeks ago, he sold his place in Spain, Sarah sold her home in Cleveleys and they moved to Mull.

“It was a very special place to him as he went rallying there every year and they decided to make it their home.”

He added: “Andy was a good friend and a navigator for us and had been involved with our company for the last 20 years.

“My son Mark used to be a rally driver and Andy was his co-driver.

When Mark stopped rallying, Andy stayed with us and co-drove for other drivers.”

Andy, who was managing director of Foundrygate Joinery in Wigan, was supposed to be co-driving for Pro-tech this weekend but the team have now withdrawn their entry.

An investigation has been launched following the crash.

The rally was abandoned after the tragedy but thousands of fans and competitors gathered to pay tribute to Andy during a walk on Sunday.

The celebration walk traditionally marks the finale of the event and Andy’s family requested it go ahead as planned to honour him.

He leaves behind a daughter Olivia and son George who live in Wigan.

Daughter Olivia stated on the Mull Rally Facebook page that she was sorry that she and brother George couldn’t get to Scotland in time to take part in the walk and added: “I hope everyone remembers Dad doing what he loved the most.”

The walk was led by a piper and followed by three rally cars and 1,000 people who walked in silence through the streets.

Eight times Mull Rally winner Calum Duffy - a cousin of 26-year-old John MacCrone - read out a poem reflecting on the tragedy.

Andy’s partner Sarah commented on Facebook thanking Calum: “I will be forever grateful to you.”

Allan Durham says Andy had a real passion for motorsports and was thrilled at the opportunity to co-drive with John MacCrone.

He said: “Andy loved rallying so much and was a larger than life character who had so many friends in the world of motorsports.

“He was the type of guy who even when he was going through his cancer was never down and he used to laugh everything off.

“He was an integral part of our team and we are going to miss him so much.”

The car that Andy was co-driving in belonged to Teg Sport in Warton, near Carnforth.

Arron Newby, son of the owner, said: “We are deeply saddened by this gut-wrenching news.

“We spent three days with John and Andy in preparation for the rally.

“When you slap someone on the back saying: ‘Go on lad’, the last thing you expect to hear an hour later is that he’s died.”