Each person enters a meeting room in their own unique way.   Some you hear before you see them, others arrive late, drop their papers and all eyes are on them.  My first encounter with Allan was on the Cleaner Cambridge Campaign meetings at the Guildhall where he would join us wearing a high-visibility waistcoat and sporting steel-capped boots, having parked the motorised street-sweeper momentarily. In recent years, he and I reconnected on the Heritage Watch committee with Allan retaining his 'gilet-jaune' attire.  Allan patiently received hospital treatment for over a decade which enabled him to continue contributing so much to the city, despite his ill-health.  

Fellow members of Heritage Watch have cited Allan's considerable efforts to support heritage and conservation in Cambridge. I was particularly emboldened on our Civic Day Hobson walking trail in June 2019 when Allan lent his support to this project.  Penny Heath, who steers the Blue Plaque scheme, recalled Allan's support for the recent unveiling of the plaque to commemorate Leah Manning as well as the effective removal of street clutter along Burrell's Walk and Cobbett Corner. John Preston, who worked with Allan at Cambridge City Council for 25 years said, 

Allan opened our eyes to the special character of Romsey, after members of the Listed Buildings Panel had limited the Conservation Area boundary to Mill Road bridge, so it's very much thanks to him that the Conservation Area was extended to include the whole of Mill Road.

In early December at the opening of the Cambridge mosque in Mill Road,  Allan sent Heritage Watch pictures he had taken from his vantage point.  An example of street clutter par excellence which had obscured the arrival of Cat Stevens and President Erdogan to the opening of the mosque.

Allan was an outstanding guide to the history of the city, as James Littlewood CambridgePPF CEO recalled “last year Allan invited me to join his walking tour of John Hodson. His knowledge of history was first rate and he had captivated his audience but the true testament of what Allan was about, was that he had invited me along to try and re-ignite attempts to preserve the historic Hodson’s Folly next to the River Cam.”

Heritage Watch will endeavour to steward the heritage and conservation of Cambridge as we add our tribute to Allan's efforts during his lifetime to safeguard the city's historic fabric. A fitting tribute to Allan would be for the city to appoint an expert volunteer who could alert the council to instances of street clutter and congestion which impacts the public realm.

 Marie-Louise Holland

Cambridge Past Present & Future, Heritage Watch

14 September 2020