Cartoonist Alan Ralph loses battle with cancer

Cartoonist Alan Ralph has died at the age of 71.
Cartoonist Alan Ralph has died at the age of 71.

by business editor Trevor Sturgess

A man who brought a smile to business has died.

Cartoonist Alan Ralph, who contributed to national newspapers as well as the Kent Messenger and its sister monthly Kent Business, has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 71.

Mr Ralph lived in Ditton, near Maidstone, for much of his life but some five years ago moved with his wife Joan to St Ives in Cornwall to develop his wider painting skills.

He was so successful that he was accepted as a full member of Newlyn Society of Artists and St Ives Society of Artists. He had begun to sell his work and make a name for himself in Cornwall's artistic world.

But he never lost touch with his Kentish roots, contributing his monthly cartoon for publication in Kent Business until shortly before his death.

His previous work for the Kent Messenger included a weekly cartoon under the pen name Krum, and a Kent Business cartoon about the fictional life of Max Kent and his wry observations on the Kent business scene.

His widow Joan said that he had become so frustrated that illness had struck him just as he was making his mark with fellow painters. "It was very frustrating for him, there was so much he wanted to do," she said.

The couple married in Maidstone 30 years ago. Mr Ralph worked for several national papers, including The Observer, The Guardian and the Evening Standard. His funeral will be held in St Ives on Thursday.

Trevor Sturgess, business editor of the KM Group, said Alan Ralph was a talented cartoonist who never missed a deadline.

"When he told me a few weeks ago, that he could not produce his usual cartoon, I knew he must be very ill," he said.

"His work for us was always to the point, funny and widely admired. Kent Business will not be the same without an Alan Ralph cartoon, although one will be in the paper out this week. The KM Group sends its deepest sympathy to his wife and family."

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