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I first met Ali when I was just starting my PhD journey, about 15 years ago. I remember our first conversation as though it was yesterday. He listened attentively as I garbled my way through a very poor explanation of my half-formed doctoral project. He was so encouraging, kind and thoughtful – he really made me believe I could do it! It was a real turning point for me, and was the start of one of the most important friendships of my life.

I never really told Ali what a profound impact he had on my life. He was a wonderful and giving mentor and friend. If I could say one last thing to Ali, it would be simply thank-you. Thank-you for your belief in me, your encouragement and for being such a wonderful role model and confidante. I’ll miss that smile, his captivating stories, his sage advice, those delicious BBQs and his boundless enthusiasm. The bar is set very high, and I will strive to live up to the example he set.

My most sincere and heartfelt condolences are with Ann, Niki and Kia, and with Ali’s family, friends and colleagues across the world.

Farewell Ali, my dear friend. Rest in peace xx