Memories of Alan Ward from Louise Willcox

Alan Ward in spring 2017. Photo by Louise Willcox, no reproduction without permission











Alan Ward, retired Senior Studio Manager specialising in serious music, passed away last Wednesday, 12th July 2017.   He died aged 85, peacefully, at his home.
Louise Willcox remained in touch with Alan after he retired and remembers his kindness well.

“I am a generation or so behind Alan in terms of my Audio Unit career and frankly, after Alan retired and moved to the New Forest, I thought that our paths might potentially never cross again.

Spool forward 20 years:  Alan’s lovely wife Rita had died, leaving him bereft.  Coincidentally, my daughter Heather was being employed by DSTL for a ‘year in industry’ before university.  Towards the end of that year, a mutual friend pointed out that DSTL was not far from where Alan lived, and Roger and I got in touch.  We and Heather took Alan out (or rather, he took us!) for the odd meal in one of the plethora of lovely eateries around the New Forest.  We kept in touch by phone and email, and a year later, when Heather was invited to spend her summer vacation continuing her work-placement, Alan stunned us by offering her accommodation at his beautifully appointed home – point blank refusing to let us pay him for it, and he’d got in touch with someone who could give her a lift into work!

Heather was a shy 20-year-old but, to my astonishment, said yes.  For four years she stayed with Alan during her summer placements – by year two she could drive and she would then share the driving (probably safer), going out for meals together – Alan making great play of having a 21-year-old on his arm!   He openly admitted that he had been lonely after his wife had died and that just having someone in the house (even if she was in her room on her computer all the time!) just helped.  They developed a firm friendship and Roger and I visited whenever we could.

Heather ultimately got a job at DSTL after university, and we have continued to visit Alan.  The last occasion was about four months ago, when it was clear Alan was becoming more frail.  He had lost none of his wicked sense of humour, though!

Towards the end, Alan had full-time care at home, and was becoming more confused due to his depleted oxygen levels.  I mention this only because, at one point Alan asked the family if they’d got enough XLR cables!  This will bring a smile to audio unit colleagues – the A. Ward Award – for emptying OB Stores of equipment – was apocryphal!   Alan’s family thought it was apt that towards the end, he was planning an OB.”

Louise Willcox

Freelance Sound Supervisor