You couldn't wish to meet a nicer, kinder man: neighbour's tribute to dead pilot

A FUNERAL service for retired farmer Francis Ball who died when his light aircraft crashed in the Fens will be held next week at Wisbech St Mary Parish Church. He was one of the best and you couldn t wish to meet a kinder man, said neighbour Tony Fowler

A FUNERAL service for retired farmer Francis Ball who died when his light aircraft crashed in the Fens will be held next week at Wisbech St Mary Parish Church.

"He was one of the best and you couldn't wish to meet a kinder man," said neighbour Tony Fowler. "He was a proper, old-fashioned gentleman."

Mr Ball was regularly seen by neighbours as he took off from a runway on his land at Plash Drove, Tholomas Drove, more often at weekends in the summer.

Villagers said they were shocked when they realised that it was seventy-year-old Mr Ball who had been involved in the crash


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Mr Fowler, a local parish councillor, said: "We were very shocked when we were heard what had happened."

He said Mr Ball had always loved flying and in the past had flown on trips to the continent but more recently had stayed closer to home.

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Mr Ball married into a farming family and carried on the business as an arable farmer but also keeping pigs. He and his wife have a son.

Another neighbour said: "When we first moved here it was quite a novelty to see him taking off from the runway which runs behind our house but we just got used to it. He seemed to have a couple of planes.

"They were a very quiet and private couple but he always put his hand up when he went by."

Mr Ball's single seater home-built Taylor Titch plane crashed into a stretch of the River Nene between Whittlesey and March on Sunday afternoon.

The Civil Aviation Authority is conducting an inquiry.

(Full story see tomorrow's Wisbech Standard)

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