"He was warm and funny; witty, clever, kind and a brilliant journalist," she said. "It's very hard to realise now how his earlier pieces caught the zeitgeist. He had a wonderful voice. "He was a dear friend. When you walked into a room and saw Alan, you'd immediately think 'this is not going to be boring'.He was a life-enhancer."
His son, Giles, once described his father's secret for good writing:
"When I was about 11, I would always go to my dad and say, 'What shall I write?' "He would always say,'Whatever the first thing that comes to your head, don't write that because that's what everyone will write. When the second idea comes into your head, don't write that either because that's what the bright kids will write. "Wait for the third idea, because that's the one that only you will do."