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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 July, 2004, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Tributes paid to BBC broadcaster
Ali at the travel desk
Ali was popular with both staff and listeners alike
Tributes have been paid to the BBC Scotland broadcaster Ali Abbasi, who died on Friday after a short illness.

First Minister Jack McConnell described him as a "very special friend" who spread "warmth and good cheer".

BBC Scotland controller Ken MacQuarrie said he had been hugely popular both with colleagues and radio listeners.

Ali, 42, joined BBC Scotland as a travel reporter in the 1980s. His funeral was held in the courtyard of Glasgow's Central Mosque on Saturday.

In these days where racism is raising its ugly head in Scotland, Ali was a shining example of multi-culturalism at its best - Asian, Glaswegian and Gaelic brought together in one.
Ken, Scotland

Friends and family joined leading figures from the Scottish media as his body was carried through the courtyard before being taken to Linn Cemetery.

BBC Scotland head of news and current affairs, Blair Jenkins, said that the corporation was organising a further "celebration" of the presenter to allow his many friends to pay tribute to "a one-off character".

Mr MacQuarrie paid tribute to Ali's wit and warmth and passed on a message of sympathy to his family.

He said: "Everyone at BBC Scotland is absolutely devastated at the death of Ali, who was hugely popular with staff and listeners alike.

"His wit quickly made him a firm favourite with listeners to his travel bulletins on Radio Scotland.

Ali's funeral was at Glasgow's Central Mosque
Ali's funeral was at Glasgow's Central Mosque

"Ali was one of those characters who always had a word to say to everyone who came into BBC Scotland and he was soon on first name terms with scores of our contributors, who subsequently turned out in force to support his charity book.

"The Glasgow newsroom won't be the same place without him and our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this very difficult time."

Ali was born in Karachi but came to Glasgow with his family from Pakistan as a toddler in 1963.

He joined the BBC after working for Glasgow council.

He was a passionate supporter of Gaelic and enjoyed visiting the Western Isles to hone his language skills.

Last October he was named by the Scottish Executive as the country's first Gaelic-speaking reading champion.

He also appeared in Gaelic programmes as an animated newsreader in the children's series De a-nis? and the comedy series Air Ais Air An Ran Dan (Back on the Ran Dan).

Ali made many people laugh and he spread warmth and good cheer wherever he went
Jack McConnell
First minister

Ali, who was single, was renowned for his sense of humour and published the cookbook No Worry Curries and two charity joke books.

Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell wrote the introduction to the recipe book.

Mr McConnell joined the tributes paid to the popular presenter.

He said: "He was a very special friend. Ali made many people laugh and he spread warmth and good cheer wherever he went. (My wife) Bridget and I will really miss him."

'Wit and charm'

Former secretary general of Nato Lord Robertson described Ali as a "wonderful guy".

He said: "He was a complicated character at times but at the same way he was irrepressible, he had an infectious humour. The voice was a trademark. And he was just somebody who made a huge impression on anybody who met him."

Outgoing Scottish National Party leader John Swinney said: "My deepest condolences and those of the whole SNP go out to Ali's family, friends and colleagues.

"Ali's wit and charm had made him one of Scotland's favourite broadcasters.

"He will be deeply missed by all."

BBC's Ali a 'Gaelic champion'
10 Oct 03  |  Scotland



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