Family's heartache at tragic loss of 'funny, supportive and chivalrous' Ali Cowper

Ali Cowper reading a storybook for his youngest grandchild, Ava
Ali Cowper reading a storybook for his youngest grandchild, Ava -Credit:Family handout

A beloved dad, stepdad, granddad and partner has sadly died after rapidly becoming unwell from a rare type of cancer.

Alistair Cowper, who preferred to be known as Ali, died just one month after his 60th birthday surrounded by the family he adored so much. He was diagnosed with untreatable bile duct cancer six months ago and died on May 3, with his step-daughter saying his passing has "left a big hole in our hearts".

The Rovers supporter was originally from Scotland but moved to Hull, managing to keep the Scottish accent his family loved so much. He leaves behind his partner, son, stepdaughter, and three grandchildren: Nathan, six, Blake, four, and Ava, two.


Dione Brocklehurst, Ali's stepdaughter, said his condition deteriorated so rapidly the family didn't have time to raise money for a funeral and are now facing the prospect of cremation with no service. "He did everything to look after everyone else and he deserves more than just a cremation," she said.

"He died on the 3rd in my arms with all his family around him. We're having to go for the bare minimum for his funeral because we can't afford anything else, just a cremation without the service.

"With him passing so quick, we didn't have time to save. The cancer took him within six months and he was in a lot of pain. He moved in with me for the last five months and I did all of his care."

In tribute to Ali, she said: "He was such a supportive person you could literally come to him with any issue, I could have done anything, and he would be there with wise words. He was a very chivalrous person, he would open the car door for you and pull your chair out.

"His grandkids were his world. He was always taking them to The Deep, the beach, the theatre. He was a very active grandparent and he would spoil his grandkids any chance he got."

A photograph of Ali shows him reading a book for his youngest grandchild, two-year-old Ava. Dione said Ava is too young to understand why her granddad isn't there anymore and misses him a lot.

She said: "Their favorite thing to do was reading stories and she would give him book after book to read. Even when he was on his hospital bed, she would bring him books to read together. It's really hard for her because she keeps grabbing her books out to read with him."

Remembering Ali's love of rugby, Dione said: "He was a big Rovers fan, he absolutely loved his rugby. It was so hard to watch the game without him shouting at the telly.

"My partner, his son-in-law, he used to absolutely adore him. They'd go to the rugby together even though they supported opposite teams."

Dione said her stepdad was also an animal lover and had owned chameleons, frogs, and even once got a tarantula. "He loved his animals, he had two poison dart frogs and he called them his jewels," she said.

Ali was funny, supportive, and the "first to defend us", she added. Even through his struggles, Dionne said Ali never "changed his personality" and always wanted the best for his family.

Dione added: "One of the biggest things I miss is his voice and his accent and his wise words. I know he would have something to say right now to comfort us." If you would like to help the family cover costs for Ali's funeral, Dionne has made a gofundme page here.