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Phuket pioneer Alan Cooke passes away

PHUKET: Alan Cooke, who served as the British Honorary Consul in Phuket from 2001 to 2008, for which he was awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) personally received from HM Queen Elizabeth II, has passed away.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 12 December 2021, 03:12PM

Alan Cooke, a true Phuket pioneer.

Alan Cooke, a true Phuket pioneer.

Mr Cooke, or just “Cookie” to his friends, passed away at his home in Phuket on Wednesday (Dec 8). He was 85.

“It is with great sadness I announce my dear friend and predecessor in the role of British Honorary Consul to Phuket passed away peacefully at his home today in Phuket… Rest in Peace Alan,” wrote Martin Carpenter, who himself served as British Honorary Consul in Phuket for 12 years.

Mr Cooke was awarded the MBE for his dedicated assistance provided to British nationals, especially during the 2004 tsunami and the disastrous crash of One-Two-Go Flight OG 269 at Phuket International Airport three years later.

He also started the Hash House Harriers in Phuket and was instrumental in building Phuket’s Deep Sea Port.

Even his “retirement” in Phuket could not contain him to his Island Furniture store still open today on Chao Fa West Rd in Wichit. Alan found himself also called to help create the Phuket International Boat Show (PIMEX), acting as initial consultant to Gulu Lalvani in the construction of Royal Phuket Marina, and to lobby successfully in the abolition of some, and the reduction of other, boat import taxes and duties to Thailand.

He also established the Alan Cooke Cricket Ground (ACG) in Thalang , which stands as his legacy in creating Phuket’s first cricket league.

Prior to Alan’s funeral on Wednesday (Dec 15), his body is being kept in vigil at his home in Thalang. Khun Siriporn, Alan’s long standing partner in Phuket invites friends, who would like to pay their respects, to the house between 5pm to 9pm from today through Tuesday (Dec 14), with prayers taking place from 7:30pm each day, Mr Carpenter noted.

On Tuesday evening, after the prayers there will be an ‘Open House’ wake with refreshments served, he added.

“Alan’s funeral will take place on Wednesday (Dec 15)  at Manik Temple from 11:30am, followed by a celebration of Alan’s life at the Alan Cooke Cricket Ground,” Mr Carpenter added.

“Hashers, past members of the British Business Association Phuket, cricketers, colleagues and friends of Alan, Khun Siriporn and her family look forward to welcoming you to pay your respects,” he said.

An outpouring of condolences for Alan’s friends and family have streamed online since news of Alan’s passing broke.

“Very sad to hear this, he was a real gentleman and pillar of the community May he Rest in Peace,” wrote fellow Phuket pioneer and long-term expat Neil Cumming.

“RIP Alan and thank you for your generous contribution of the ACG for kids and adults alike…,” wrote Stewart Lees. 

Ian Hewett, well known for his long-standing role in Phuket’s marine industry, wrote, “So sorry to read this. I met Alan just after the Tsunami when we took a speedboat to Phi Phi and around the bay. I was looking for missing charter boats and Alan wanted to see for himself what the situation was.”

“Really sad news. A pillar of society, I enjoyed his sardonic wit on many occasions. Sincere condolences to his family & friends. RIP Alan,” wrote friend Peter Notley.

Phuket’s cricketing community, deeply grateful for Alan’s role in establishing cricket on the island, marked his passing through their Phuket Cricket Facebook page.

“Very sad news for Phuket and Phuket Cricket. Alan did so much for Phuket Cricket through his love of the magnificent game. Thoughts are with his family and friends in these difficult times,” the group wrote.

“We will forever be grateful for the magnificent venue that is the Alan Cooke Ground (ACG), where we all have shared so many good times and will continue to do so. RIP Alan.”

See a review of Alan’s autobiography ‘Our Man in Phuket’ here.

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