Posts Tagged ‘Alan Keen’

Tribute to Alan Keen

19/11/2011, 08:00:26 AM

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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Gordon Brown’s tribute to Alan Keen

14/11/2011, 11:13:32 AM

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.

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