Family and friends pay tribute as last of the British dead in MH17 are named

Ten British citizens died when the Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over eastern Ukraine. They included a father of three who died along with his Dutch wife and their children

A British lawyer, his wife and their three sons were among the 298 people killed in the MH17 crash, it has emerged.

John Allen, who studied and lived in the Netherlands, died with his wife Sandra and their sons Christopher, Julian and Ian, who are believed not to have had British citizenship. The 44-year-old was described by colleagues at his Dutch law firm, Nauta-Dutilh, as kind and humorous.

"He was a person with many talents, and in addition to his professional contribution to our firm he generously shared his musical and athletic abilities with us as well," the firm said in a statement posted on its website.

"All of us who had the privilege of working with John during his 18 years at NautaDutilh came to know him as a kind, down-to-earth and humorous man, and many of us have also lost a friend. He will be dearly missed."

Another Briton to have died was named as Robert Ayley, 28, a dog breeder from Guildford in Surrey who had moved to New Zealand. He was returning home to his wife, Sharlene, and their sons, aged two and four, after a month-long working trip to Europe.

"We adored him and there was no one else like him," the family said in a statement on Facebook. "He touched so many hearts and lives. We are grateful to forever have him in our hearts."

In a final email before he boarded the flight, Ayley talked about being ready to come home. "So yes, here we are," he wrote. "Last day in Europe. My flight is at 12 tomorrow. Right now, I'm just looking forward to seeing the boys and Sharlene. It's been a long, long journey."

His family added: "Rob was always passionate about life. There were no half measures. He was passionate about his family, too. He found in his boys two little people he could love, understand and trust. When they cried they were sad, when they laughed they were happy and when they hugged it was because they loved him. Sharlene and Rob are soulmates. She is his 'Princess'. She changed his life and he changed hers. She held his heart and he held hers. Rob will live forever in his family."

A third Briton named was Stephen Anderson, 44, a former search and rescue coordinator at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, who lived in Penang, Malaysia, with his wife Joanna, 37. Tributes posted by his niece on Twitter read: "Rest in Peace Uncle Steve. You didn't deserve to die. No one on that flight did. I love you so much."

On Anderson's LinkedIn page, a colleague described him as "self-disciplined, organised and reliable". Another friend declared on Twitter "RIP mate. Really nice bloke."

Andrew Hoare was the last of the 10 Britons who died in the crash to be named. He died alongside his Dutch wife Estella and their children Friso and Jasper, who were 12 and 14 and of Dutch nationality. His brother Hugo told the BBC: "He was a warm, funny and wonderful man whose smile and character lit up a room."

More tributes have been paid to the Britons previously identified. Ben Pocock, from Keynsham, Bristol, was a second-year international business student at Loughborough University. "He was a gifted academic and a talented athlete, but more importantly a warm, caring, fun-loving son and brother who had an extremely bright future ahead of him," his family said in a statement.

John Alder, 63, a lifelong Newcastle United supporter, had barely missed a match in 50 years. His neighbour Margaret Bambra described him as "a lovely guy, never bothering anyone. He was Newcastle-mad. I really cannot believe it – it's totally devastating. He did not deserve this."

Alder died with a fellow Newcastle supporter, 28-year-old Liam Sweeney. By yesterday afternoon, Sunderland FC supporters, who had aimed to collect £100 to pay for a floral tribute to the pair, had amassed more than £13,000 in 24 hours using social media.

Among the confirmed dead were three children – Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin, aged 12, 10 and 8 respectively – who were flying back to their native Perth in Australia after "the holiday of a lifetime" in Europe with their grandfather, Nick Norris. His daughter, Natalia Gemmell, told Australian media her nephews and niece were "gentle, clever beautiful kids".

It also emerged that the step-grandmother of the Malaysian prime minister was one of the 43 Malaysians on board the plane. A family spokesman said Puan Sri Siti Amirah, the step-grandmother of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was travelling alone on her way back to Jogjakarta, Indonesia, from Amsterdam.

"She was a very, very nice lady. A kindhearted, beautiful woman," the spokesman said.

The crash heaped tragedy upon tragedy for one Australian family, who had also had relatives on the Malaysian Airlines plane lost in March. Kaylene Mann's brother, Rod Burrows, and sister-in-law, Mary Burrows, were on Flight 370, which is believed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. On Friday, Mann learned that her stepdaughter, Maree Rizk, had been killed in Thursday's crash.

"It's just brought everyone, everything back," said Greg Burrows, Mann's brother. "It's just ripped our guts again."

Karlijn Keijzer, a 25-year-old graduate student at Indiana Universty, was one of 192 Dutch nationals known to have died. The Amsterdam student rowing club, Skoll, said on its website that Keijzer died with another rower, Laurens van der Graaff, on their way to a holiday.

Dutch Aids activist Pim de Kuijer, once a political intern of former Dutch lawmaker Lousewies van der Laan, was also killed. On Twitter, van der Laan called him "a brilliant, inspiring and caring activist fighting for equality and helping Aids victims around the world."


Jamie Doward and Alexandra Robinson

The GuardianTramp

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