THE devastated family of a much loved Gourock man who has lost a six-month battle with cancer say they’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support since his death.

Former publican Alan Sandison was fondly regarded as ‘Mr Gourock’ and raised tens of thousands of pounds for local good causes over the years.

The 57-year-old’s death has sent shockwaves through the local community and tributes have flooded in.

Alan, who ran Monteith’s pub in Shore Street for many years, discovered a lump while on holiday in April this year and was later diagnosed with skin cancer and brain tumours.

His devoted wife Barbara and two sons Scott and Greg today spoke about his courage in facing the disease, and the comfort they have taken from the hundreds of tributes paid to him.

Barbara, aged 55, who has also battled cancer, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the messages and tributes to Alan.

“Alan had the most incredible sense of humour, he was still cracking jokes even on the day he went into hospital last week.

“He made the most of every single day, even when his illness was taking everything from him.

“Even until a couple of days before he died he would have his favourite dinner and his glass of red wine.

“Alan cared so much about his community and we did a lot of fundraising.

“Alan was the most generous man you’d ever meet.”

Former IBM worker Alan, who ran Monty’s until 18 months ago, was diagnosed with terminal metastatic melanoma after doctors found two cancerous lumps and then tumours in his brain.

He was in Turkey on holiday with his wife in April when he found a lump.

Alan died on Friday in Inverclyde Royal Hospital after a very rapid decline in recent weeks.

Son Greg, aged 22, a merchant seaman, said: “Until the final couple of weeks you really would never have known my dad was ill.

“My dad was a protector and right up until the end his only concern was making sure everyone else was okay.

“He only cared about us, even as his balance went and he lost his sight.

“He never complained and was never down. 

“He has made it so easy for us, we will never know how hard it was for him.

“He was my best friend and my hero.”

In his final weeks Alan made sure he spent as much quality time with family and close friends as possible.

Two weeks ago he went with his family to watch Morton and was given VIP treatment by the club on the day.

Greg added: “It was a great day. We have had the chance to make the most amazing memories and we got the chance to say goodbye the way we would have wanted to. Not everyone gets to do that.”

Scott, aged 28, a chartered accountant who lives in Edinburgh with wife Lauren, said: “My dad was so charismatic.

We were always known as ‘Alan’s sons’ and that is a great source of pride to me now. I am very proud of what my dad achieved in the community and the charity fundraising. 

“Over the years he must have helped raised a six figure sum of money for lots of good causes.

“I think the charity fundraising is something we will continue in his memory.

“All the messages of support have been such a comfort and greatly appreciated.”

Seven years ago the family were rocked when Barbara was diagnosed with cancer in her ear and faced months of gruelling treatment.

The kind couple decided to devote all their efforts to helping others and giving something back after all the support they received.

They set up their own charity — Inverclyde Macmillan Fundraising Group — and set about raising £50,000 for both the charity and Ardgowan Hospice.

Alan organised golf days and other fundraisers in the pub and together the couple held successful ladies lunches and a host of other events.

Alan, son of the late Bill and Elma, who’s 85, was very proud of his home town of Gourock.

The dad-of-two was also a hero to his younger brother Brian, aged 48, who has learning disabilities.

Alan met his wife of 34 years Barbara, also from Gourock, through their shared love of amateur dramatics and both were members of the Oracle.

He worked in IBM for 27 years, starting as a forklift driver and working his way up to senior management.

When he left the global firm he went in to the pub trade and after moving on from running Monteith’s he worked with the Office of National Statistics in Glasgow Airport.

Alan’s funeral will take place tomorrow in Greenock Town Hall at 11.30am for all family and friends, with committal at Greenock Crematorium at 1pm. 

There will be a collection for the cancer-related charities the family has supported, at Alan’s request.