I have been given the honour of writing some words in celebration of Alan’s life. It’s not hard to praise Alan’s life. As all of us will testify, he was a great character much loved by family and friends. He was my friend and colleague for over 50 years He achieved much in a deceptively unassuming way and made friends easily. Ask anyone; you just could not help liking Alan.

We travelled the length and breadth of the UK plying our trade. Alan had the knack of opening doors and gaining the trust of buyers. They realised that they could rely on him to give good advice . At Gallaher and Johnston Allen, he rose from office boy in the early fifties to the position of sales manager in control of twenty reps and agents He was also responsible for the West End of London. The top job. Sadly Gallahers were forced to close in 1980.

Alan received a number of good offers but fortunately for me, he joined Lehner-Morris. We had always worked together very well and the old team was back together.

I would come up with a plan. Alan would say fine and then do exactly what he liked. Almost inevitably an improvement. I used to say “could you make a mental note of that” and he always replied “I’m far too old to make a mental note of anything”. He also used to say he needed re-training if he went out to lunch. Not true!

We were quite often on business buying handkerchiefs in Switzerland. It must have looked strange to see two smartly dressed Englishmen walking the streets of the little mountain village of Appenzell,  a bit like the West End meets the “Sound of Music”

Over the years we became family friends. We remember Alan as a great family man. He told me he was so lucky to have married Shirley. He was so proud of Tony and Clive and Janet’s achievements, and how his grandchildren Lauren and Matthew are now making their mark in the world.

When it comes down to it, Alan was simply an excellent salesman and in later years was greeted with affection by all his customers. He was respected as a gentleman and elder statesman of the trade.

All of us were privileged to know him.

Let’s  raise a glass to Alan. A scotch with the same amount of water, no ice!


Michael Graver