by Gordon Brown
ALAN KEEN MP (1937 – 2011)
Alan Keen, who was member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston for more than 19 years since his election in 1992, has died after a heroic fight against cancer. The chairman of both the all party football committee and all party athletics committee in Parliament, as well as a member of the culture, media and sport select committee, Alan will long be remembered as the greatest champion of football in Parliament.
He was born 25th November 1937 and is the husband of former health minister, Ann Keen.
Alan was a great MP: locally popular, diligent, and a great fighter for local causes.
He was born in London, but brought up in the Grangetown and Redcar area of the north east of England, attending Sir William Turner’s grammar school in Redcar. He served in the British Army for 3 years before joining the fire protection industry.
He was a great footballer, and a scout for his favourite club, Middlesbrough, for eighteen years. Working with Jackie Charlton, the footballers he spotted included Graeme Souness.
Having served as a member of Hounslow borough council from 1986–90, he unseated the sitting Conservative MP in 1992 and served on both the education (1995–96) and the culture, media and sport select committees (1997–99 and since 2001).
He was Chairman of the all party football group with over 150 members from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, making it one of the largest all party groups at the palace of Westminster and spoke up for the grassroots and fans. He conducted two major inquiries into “English football and its governance”.
Alan is survived by his wife Ann and two sons and a daughter.
As Alan always said, serving the people of all his communities – Heston, Cranford, Hounslow West, Bedfont, Feltham and Hanworth – was his primary duty supporting all the different and diverse groups in his constituency. He held regular advice surgeries and was assiduous and conscientious at all times in speaking up for local needs.
I salute his bravery in facing cancer – fighting it as long as he could - and he will be remembered as someone who taught us how to fight illness. As he acknowledged, the NHS could not have done more to be of help and support.
Tributes have come from Lawrie McMenemy, the former manager of Southampton, who said of Alan Keen that he never lost touch with the people he represented.
He was a fine man. I will miss him.
Gordon Brown is Labour MP for Kircaldy and Cowdenbeath and a former prime minister.