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Tour manager who worked with world famous musicians has died aged 77

PUBLISHED: 11:54 15 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:20 15 August 2018

Malcolm Cook. Picture: Ian Burt

Malcolm Cook. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

Tributes have been paid to a former tour manager who lived in Dereham and worked with some of the most famous popstars and sportsmen in the world following his death at the age of 77.

Mal Cook (right) and Gerry Marsden pictured together. Picture: Supplied by Bella Melton.Mal Cook (right) and Gerry Marsden pictured together. Picture: Supplied by Bella Melton.

Malcolm Cook, more commonly known as Mal, started as a tour manager during the 1960s and worked with the likes of Gerry and the Pacemakers, Shane Fenton (who later became Alvin Stardust), Billie Jo Spears, The Ronettes, The National Ballet of St Petersburg and even the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team.

Originally born in London, Mr Cook moved to Dereham in 1981 with his then wife and has also written a book about his life titled Cook’s Tours: Tales of a Tour Manager.

Bella Melton was his best friend and carer for eight years and was with him when he died. She said: “I originally worked for a care company and would visit Mal to give him the help he needed for two years. We became very good friends and I ended up caring for him privately.

“I would do everything for him. I used to take him out shopping, to see shows and to his appointments. Everyone I’ve spoken to who worked with Mal has said he was great to be around because he was so funny as well as caring.”

Mal Cook worked as a tour manager for Kris Kristofferson. Picture: Supplied by Bella Melton.Mal Cook worked as a tour manager for Kris Kristofferson. Picture: Supplied by Bella Melton.

Mr Cook’s lifelong friend Peter Knight said: “I was working in the music business and realised we needed a tour manager so I asked him if he wanted an interview for the job and that’s how he got into it. He really was an exceptional guy.”

His two biggest tours included the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and their opponents the Boston Emeralds and the other involved the National Ballet of St Petersburg.

He first started working with Eden Kane and also toured with the likes of Billy Fury and Kris Kristofferson, with the job of ensuring that everything on the tours ran smoothly.

Mr Cook died of ill health. His funeral will take place at Earlham Crematorium on August 29 and Miss Melton has organised a 1964 London bus with ‘Cook’s Tours’ written on the side to take those attending from his house. Mr Cook has asked for donations to guide dogs charities and the Cromer Lifeboat instead of flowers.

Mal Cook was a tour manager for Bille Jo Spears. Picture: Supplied by Bella Melton.Mal Cook was a tour manager for Bille Jo Spears. Picture: Supplied by Bella Melton.

If you knew Mr Cook and wish to attend the funeral, contact Bella on 07724 937342.

“He was a wonderful person”- Mal Cook’s lifelong friend pays tribute

A lifelong friend of Malcolm Cook has paid tribute to him after he died aged 77.

Peter Knight met Mr Cook when they were both at school together and was responsible for giving him his first break in tour management.

He said: “I was already working in the music business anyway for a management company and we realised we needed a tour manager for Eden Kane who had just had a number one single.

“I asked him if he wanted an interview for the job and he got it and that’s how he got into the industry.”

Mr Knight also remembers growing up with him and added: “When I was 10-years-old I had a kidney problem and was very ill and couldn’t go to a school for a long time. He used to come round and see me every day and check how I was.

“He was a wonderful person. We got separated a bit during our middle years but in the last 10 to 15 years we talked much more frequently, right up until he went into hospital.”

Malcolm Cook’s friend and carer describes him as a “caring” and “funny” man

Mal Cook’s friend and carer of eight years has described him as a “caring” and “funny” man who “would always see the funny side of things.”

Bella Melton began caring for Mr Cook when she worked for a care company but after two years, started caring for him privately.

She said: “I’ll never forget the time I was scrubbing the loo and heard him laughing and he said to me, come and say hello to Alvin. So I came through and I picked up the phone and he said ‘Hi it’s Alvin here, how are you doing? Keep up the good work.’ and I said to Mal, who was that? It was Alvin Stardust.

“It’s sad because he was so lonely in his later years. We forget who these people are just because they aren’t famous anymore, he never had any visitors except me. It’s important to make the most of people while they are still here.”

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