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Falconer Chester partner dies in light aircraft tragedy

Liverpool architect Philip Chester was killed last Saturday in a freak microlight accident during a leisure flight from Liverpool to Stoke.

The 40-year-old aviation enthusiast and partner in Falconer Chester made an unscheduled landing in a Staffordshire field after the engine of his microlight began to splutter. The landing should have been straightforward but the aircraft ran into boggy ground, stopped suddenly and tipped over.

His passenger, Peter McClaughlin, walked away from the accident with a broken rib but Chester was crushed and, it is thought, died of a broken neck. The Staffordshire authorities are carrying out an inquest into the accident to establish the exact cause of death.

Microlights commonly have two fuel tanks and it is thought that problems may have struck during the operation to switch from one to the other.

The father of two had taken up the hobby 18 months ago and was a member of the Ince Blundell flying club.

Chester made his reputation as an architect on a number of projects to redevelop Liverpool city centre and his partner, Peter Falconer, praised him as 'the best designer I have ever worked with, and one of the best in Liverpool'.

He designed the Observatory office building in the city, which later won a Merseyside Civic Society building of the year award. He also designed a major mixed-use development in Queen Square, featuring the Marriott Hotel. The practice also converted a former hangar at Speke Airport into a David Lloyd leisure centre.

'He was a talented architect and well known in Liverpool, ' Falconer said. 'It's a real shame because as prospects have picked up in this region over the last five years there were more openings to demonstrate his skills. His best work was still to come.'

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