Monumental Brass Society

Jonathan Ali (1969-2019)

It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Jonathan Ali who also passed away on 30th May 2019 (the same day as William Lack).

Jonathan had been a member of the Society since 1985 and served as a member of the Executive Council from 2013 to 2016. He had a general appreciation of monumental brasses with a particular interest in those related to his native county of Lancashire. 

In 2009 he discovered a Trinity that apparently had been purchased by a tinker from a market stall at Bury or Clitheroe in c.1949. The brass bears a close resemblance to the Trinity on the memorial to Sir John Broke, Baron Cobham, and wife Margaret, 1506, at Cobham, Kent (M.S.XVIII). It once formed part of a canopy arrangement and is also slightly convex consistent with bomb or blast damage (see Bulletin 113 (January 2010), p.242).

Jonathan's wide-ranging interests include World War I memorialisation. He contributed an article relating to the brass memorials contained in his local Hawkshaw Methodist Chapel (see Bulletin 127 (October 2014), pp.534-6) and a piece relating to John Travers (Jack) Cornwell, a 16 year-old V.C. winner at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 (see Bulletin 132 (June 2016). His book Our Boys: The Great War in a Lancashire Village recounts the stories of Hawkshaw's fallen heroes.

Jonathan was a highly respected journalist mostly with BBC Manchester and was known as Jali to his friends and colleagues. In 2018 he was named as one of the top 238 most respected journalists by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). He reported on many of Greater Manchester's biggest stories over the last three decades, including the IRA bombing of 1996, Manchester United's famous 1999 treble, the Oldham race riots in 2001 and the 2002 Commonwealth Games. He even reported live from the Christie Hospital in Manchester after a fire broke out whilst undergoing treatment in 2017.

A memorial service for Jonathan (Jali) was held on Saturday, 6th July 2019 at the parish church of St. Mary the Virgin, Bury, Lancashire. The President, Hon. Treasurer and our Honorary Member, Jane Houghton represented the Society. The Service was an extraordinarily moving occasion and exceptionally well attended.  

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