Alan Hardy
May 1949 – March 2020

The best friend ever

This is the first of three pages of Memories and Tributes followed by a further two pages dedicated to the Special Celebration of Alan's life

A personal tribute and photo collection by Mary Payne.

Alan and Chris became friends when they were apprentices at EMI in Hounslow. They listened to the Radio London closedown together in 1967 just a few months after they founded the hospital radio station Radio West Mid at West Middlesex Hospital. When I got together with Chris, Alan became my pal too and we three enjoyed many weekends and outings together, sharing a love of radio, music, comedy shows, and sci-fi.

(Above: Alan at the Radio West Mid mic)

Alan was a talented broadcaster with many years of experience both in and outside hospital radio, but he was always modest about his achievements. He had been presented with awards for the soul discos he hosted at the Bird's Nest in Twickenham in the early Seventies, but they were always hidden away in his spare room.

Our self-effacing friend devoted his life to helping others; to Radio West Mid and to his church.

Alan had been a part of our lives for over 50 years and contributed so much that I can scarcely scratch the surface of the good times we shared. Just a few highlights were a Butlin's Sixties weekend, that starred acts rarely seen in the UK, the Shirelles and early Motown group the Contours; we attended the London premiere of the 'Standing in the Shadows of Motown' film and a subsequent concert by the Funk Brothers; we enjoyed a Brian Wilson 'Pet Sounds' performance at the Festival Hall, where we encountered Twiggy Day on the stairs; during a holiday in Hollywood Beach, Miami, we saw a Doo-Wop concert featuring original artists like Brooklyn Bridge.

(Left: Alan Field, Peter Young, Chris, Cousin Moosie and Jon Myer enjoyed an hysterical evening with Alan, watching Round the Horne Revisited)

Alan and our late friend Peter Young were on DJ duty at our Silver Wedding. Alan assisted me with organising a surprise steam engine driving experience for Chris's 60th birthday and provided a compilation of train-related music for the occasion. The following year, he assisted Chris with arranging my unforgettable 60th celebration aboard HQS Wellington, on the Thames.

Much as he loved offshore radio, Alan would never have coped with life at sea. (Alan preferred Radio Caroline to Radio London, but we didn't hold it against him.) He and I booked a boat trip out to Knock John fort, not knowing that our vessel would be a small fishing boat with a very smelly diesel engine. The sea was rough, we got soaked to the skin and poor Alan was terribly sick. When we came ashore from our ill-fated excursion, I left him resting in his car and trying to get warm, while I went to a charity shop and bought us both dry clothes.

It became a tradition for us to spend New Year's Eve and Jan 1st with Alan, usually celebrating with an Indian meal, watching Jools Holland's Hootenanny and toasting with champagne at midnight. Alan knew all the contemporary artists on the show; Chris and I knew virtually none.

The last New Year we shared was at Alan's house at the end of 2018. He clearly was not well then and we were surprised that he had not cancelled our visit. In 2019 it was our turn to host the celebration, but sadly, Alan was too ill to join us. Neither of us felt like drinking champagne and it transpired that 2020 would certainly not turn into a year worth celebrating.

(Right: August 11th, 2002. Outside the former Caroline House, 6 Chesterfield Gardens, in Mayfair, the day after the Doggett's Offshore Radio Reunion, with Mary, Kenny Tosh and Caroline DJs Gord Cruse, Graham Webb, Mick Luvzit, Bud Ballou and John Aston)

When Chris and I organised the memorable offshore radio reunion in London in 2002, Alan drove us and all our equipment to the venue at Doggett's. We stayed the night at his flat and the following day, he drove us back again to the same pub to meet some of the guests who were still in town. We sent him a 'thank you' card a few days later, in which I wrote "You are just the best friend ever".

He was.

Mary Payne


The photos on this and the following pages are a selection of happy memories in no particular order

Chris and Alan: the Radio West Mid Founders
A toast to the station's 50th Birthday

Clacton Action: In the Big L 2001 studio on Clacton Pier, with Peter Young and ex-Caroline DJ Bud Ballou

NY 2002, the Fab Three assisted PY with his on-air
New Year's Eve party in the studios of BBC London

Mary and Alan demonstrate how to operate a glitter ball

We enjoyed doing silly things. Undeterred by the noticable lack of fish, Alan and Mary attempt to recreate the Monty Python Fish Dance at Teddington Lock.
Luckily neither of us ended up in the water.

One of many champagne toasts to welcome the New Year

Alan worked for EMI at Abbey Road Studios for some years.

On his 70th birthday in 2019, we gave him an Abbey Road-themed cake and a set of commemorative Star Trek coins.

In 2015, Alan visited the former EMI site in Hayes where he and Chris met as apprentices in 1966, and compiled a photo report for the RL website.

In 2019, Alan revisited Abbey Road Studios and reported: "I went to one of the special Abbey Road Lectures at the studio on Sunday afternoon, August 11th, as an invited guest, thanks to one of my EMI colleagues who still works there. This is the second year these Lectures have been held over a couple of weekends in August. Tickets cost £125 and I was lucky enough to get in free. Fans from all over the world come to hear a 90-minute talk about the history of the studios, how they work and the recording sessions with The Beatles.

The Lectures take place in Studio 2, where some of the old equipment from the Sixties era is laid out and a visit to the control room possible. I, and another ex EMI colleague were invited last year, but were unable to go, so this year I felt I had to say 'yes'."

Above: Those £125 seats Below: Alan in the Studio 2 Control Room

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