TRIBUTES have been paid to a loveable ‘gentle giant’ following his sudden death.
Taxi driver Allen McBride had just left his house in Northover Road, Copnor on Saturday night and was heading to work when he had an medical episode at the wheel and died.
Nobody from the property was hurt but Mr McBride was declared dead at the scene.
His family has paid a touching tribute to the 46-year-old father of three.
His mother Patricia McBride described Allen’s death as a ‘great loss’.
Mrs McBride, 71, said: ‘He was such a gentle man. They all called him “big Al”. He was quite tall and had plenty of meat on him.
‘He was so well known around here. Everybody knew him and loved him. He was definitely a family man.’
His brother Peter, 43, said he would always remember Allen as being a loving and caring protective brother.
He said: ‘He would have done anything for anybody and he did a lot for me.’
Mr McBride was born and grew up in Portsmouth, attending Westover Primary School and Great Salterns Secondary School before leaving to work as a butcher at C & D Butchers in Copnor.
Five years ago, he changed career to become a private hire driver, working for the past year with Citywide Taxis and four years before that for Aqua Cars.
Mr McBride, an avid cricket fan as well as a supporter of Portsmouth Football Club, had played for several cricket clubs including Portsmouth and Southsea Cricket Club and the Bedhampton Mariners Cricket Club.
Mr McBride had only left his house 20 minutes before his death as he had been waiting at home for the Pompey result, a 2-2 draw away at Morecambe.
The news of his death has shaken the cabbie world with many of his fellow minicab drivers paying their respects.
John Waldron, from Portsea, an Aqua Cars driver for 12 years, knew Mr McBride during his time for Aqua Cars.
Mr Waldron, 53, said: ‘He was a really nice bloke, really polite and pleasant.
‘Quite a few of the drivers are upset.
‘He was one of the loveable guys, he got on with everyone.’
Aqua Cars manager Bruce Hall described Mr McBride as an ‘unassuming’ man.
Mr Hall, 52, said: ‘He was a nice gentle man, a quiet sort, who did his job well.’
Mr McBride’s funeral will be held at 12.30pm on Thursday, February 6 at Portchester Crematorium, on Upper Cornaway Lane.
Anyone who knew Mr McBride is welcome to attend.