A recuperating Rat Packer on the mend after a triple bypass following a live lockdown performance heart attack has spoken of the “overwhelming” support he has received in the wake of his brush with tragedy.
Arbroath’s Alan Mowatt became unwell during a Live Fae Oor Living Room Facebook concert which he and wife, Val, had been staging weekly to raise funds for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.
The popular entertainer thought chest pains were just indigestion and returned to the mic to belt out a string of favourites for more than an hour – resuming with the words ‘How lucky can one guy be?’ from the Dean Martin hit Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.
Minutes after the curtain came down, however, a call to NHS 24 triggered an emergency response which saw the 61-year-old rushed to Ninewells Hospital where it emerged he had suffered a heart attack.
Painter and decorator Alan was transferred to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he underwent the triple bypass operation and is now recovering at his Charles Avenue home in Arbroath.
“It will take time, but I am just so glad to have come out the other side of this,” said the convalescing crooner, who is particularly well-known for his Rat Pack-era talent which has raised thousands of pounds for good causes.
“It really makes you think about things – you’re flying one moment and the next you’re grounded.”
Looking back to the July 3 drama, Alan said: “I hadn’t been feeling unwell in the lead up to it and I just put it down to being a bit clammy, took a wee rest and carried on.
“Val and I had been doing the concerts for eight weeks on the trot and we didn’t repeat songs unless they were requests, so that was 18 hours of music in total. We’d do quite a bit of preparation during the week so maybe it all just caught up.”
He added: “I can’t say enough about the care I got – between NHS 24, the paramedics, coronary care and Ward 1 at Ninewells and then Edinburgh Royal, they have all been amazing.”
Arbroath-born West End star Norman Bowman led a Love for Al Facebook campaign which was flooded with messages of support from around the globe.
“It’s been quite overwhelming to be honest, to have 900 people wishing you all the best is really something,” he said.
The singer would love to be back at the mic stand as soon as he can but will be strictly following doctor’s orders on the long and winding road back to full health.
“Apart from recovering, it looks like 2020 might just have to be put aside, but I’m just glad to be around to be able to do that.”