Tribute to Alan Keen

by Amanda Ramsay

Alan was a very good friend and always found time to meet and to advise, with a wicked sense of humour and wit so dry, it was positively arid. He was always quick to help, without exception. He was a constant support, when deciding to stand as a Councillor in 2002 and then when seeking selection to be a Labour prospective Parliamentary candidate for the 2005 general election.

We shared a love of football and would go to games, my first at the Emirates in fact, which was a big thrill. A former talent scout for Middlesborough FC and life-long fan, he was hugely supportive attending meetings in the House of Commons and offering advice when as a Merton councillor, myself and colleagues on the Labour Group were fighting to support AFC Wimbledon and their search for a ground, attending a match with me in Sutton and doing TV interviews to raise their profile.

Back in May of this year he wrote very warmly via e-mail, expressing great sympathy for my search for full-time paid employment.  It was then he dropped the bombshell, he’d been diagnosed with lung cancer the previous December, after experiencing increased breathlessness while playing football. It was all the more shocking as he’d never smoked and was so vehemently focussed on health and fitness, playing football regularly and being very weight conscious.

Back then, Alan thought it very unlikely that anything else would occur, reporting that his tumour disappeared after just three weeks and head and bone scans were all fine. Six weeks of radiotherapy and his consultant had given him a clean bill of health. I made my blood boil to then hear people deriding his appearance, when he sat on the committee for culture, media and sport and heard the now infamous Rupert Murdoch evidence back in July.

Then last weekend, reading over his last email, reminded of his humour: “when my hair grows again I will be back to normal. I frighten myself when I look in the mirror”. Anyone who knows Alan will almost be able to hear him say this.

Alan always had a smile on his face and did not take life too seriously. He was non-egotistical and well-respected by those who knew him well.

Though not close mates in recent years, I will miss this very softly spoken, gentle man. Rest in peace, Alan and thank you for always finding time for me.

Amanda Ramsay worked alongside Alan Keen in the House of Commons.

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2 Responses to “Tribute to Alan Keen”

  1. Carole Mc Donald says:

    Amanda often spoke of the supportive friend that Alan was within the party. He will be sadly missed by many.

  2. John Slinger says:

    What a lovely tribute to your friend.

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