Mark Allum - a true "plane spotter" remembered

Mark enjoying the view at Imperial Hill, Los Angeles Airport in November 2017
Mark Allum passed away on Monday 6 April 2020 - his funeral is being held at
Sutton Coldfield on Monday 18 May 2020 but due to the current Coronavirus
restrictions attendance is limited to family members only

Mark, who lived in Tamworth, Staffordshire, was only 52. He was a regular
visitor to Birmingham, East Midlands and Heathrow as well as other airports
around the UK and he will be known to many as a really great guy and a
dedicated enthusiast who will be sorely missed. A tribute is set out below     

Our thoughts are with all Mark's family and friends at this sad time

Gordon Stretch

Mark Allum - a true "plane spotter" remembered

I first met Mark about 15 years ago when ATC was in the Elmdon building. Whilst stood
at the crash gate Mark would talk to ATC staff starting or finishing a shift, probably trying
to glean some information on what was due in. I eventually let on to Mark that I was also
spotter & that started the friendship between us.

Mark would regularly be seen at the finish of an afternoon shift at 2130 and would keep
you talking for at least 30 minutes. He would always be last man standing rain or shine.
Regular cups of coffee made their way from ATC to the front door of the Elmdon building
or MSCP. On a quiet evening he would get invited upstairs for a chat & coffee. He would
then usually then try & empty the vending machine of crisps & chocolate!

I started to join Mark on his regular Saturday trips to Heathrow (but not every week like
he seem to manage), up at the crack of dawn and if you were lucky back before midnight.
After waiting for that last good number when we were the last people at the visitor centre.
In those early dates he would spend most of his time peering into the boot of the car
watching his SBS screen updating his flags etc.

I invited him on numerous overseas trips but I always felt like a travel agent / tour guide
(I did not mind as I enjoy arranging trips & seeing a plan come together). Mark would just
follow me around (I even had to check him-in!) and I would have to do the logging because
I couldn't read his hand writing.

Mark always thought McDonalds was for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Over the last couple of
years I had slowly convinced him that there were other options & Denny's was a start! On
our last trip to the US he ordered T bone steak and a draft beer!

Whilst driving he would always point out the cars that had a new door, rear end shunt,
respray etc. I could not tell but that was his job collecting / delivering cars which had been
repaired. He would also criticise other people's driving. One day whilst driving back to the
hotel at LAX in the dark a SUV was tailgating our hire car. He started criticising until the
rear view mirror filled up when blue flashing lights. He had forgotten to switch the lights
on. After apologising, explaining we had been sat at Imperial Hill all day, going back to the
hotel and we were English we got away with it!

We went to SFO (even hit the tourist trail to visit the Golden Gate Bridge) & Seattle in
March on a MAX bash, but unfortunately we did not make it to Moses Lake due Wx
forecast of strong winds and drifting snow. We then decided to come home early due

Mark would always say that he did plane spotting not just for the numbers, but it was also
a social activity. He was just happy spending hours at BHX / LHR / EMA talking even if he did
not make a number.

Jonathan Woodland
Birmingham ATC
Sunday 17 May 2020


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