from Jason Thomas

I am a member of the Wimbledon Light Opera Society and performed with Ali in Babes in Toyland, My Fair Lady and Dad's Army. In fact, along with Emma Pearson, Ali was the very first WLOS member I met when I turned up for my first rehearsal of Babes in Toyland in June 2009. His warm welcome within seconds of my walking through the door at Lingfield Hall certainly helped me feel that I'd come to join the right group.
Ali was a lovely guy, so gentle of nature and never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was a great actor and created some very special on stage moments. He made me laugh every time he appeared in his night gown and night cap as 'angry man' in Wiv' a Little Bit o' Luck in My Fair Lady and he was perfect for the role of Pike in Dad's Army.
If I close my eyes, I can clearly hear him saying 'It's ever so wobbly' and 'I got a note from the doctor' as he is hassled up the ladder by Captain Mainwaring.
WLOS is quite a close-knit group and we all feel as though we've lost such an important member and friend. This week, the hall was very busy on Tuesday evening. Many people who were not called to rehearsal or who are not even in the current show dropped in. I think they probably felt as I did, a quiet need to be with other WLOS people at this incredibly sad time.
I will miss Ali, his team spirit, his enthusiasm, his gentleness. And I will miss our post-rehearsal chats about the conflicting fortunes of Arsenal, Norwich and Hull City FC.
I very much hope to attend Ali's funeral next Friday.
With very best wishes to you all,