Neil was fortunate to work for an outstanding employer in Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd at Grove. He enjoyed good health and was a robust character. In 2016 he appeared to have fainted at work and was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital. It became apparent that something serious was wrong and a brain tumour was diagnosed.
From the beginning the support from the company was first rate. Members of management telephoned Neil on a regular basis in the months that followed. Other colleagues kept in touch and Neil remained hopeful that he would return to work. Sadly, this was never to be.
A whole coachload of staff attended Neil’s funeral on 14 December 2017. They presented Neil’s parents with a book with a forward by Claire Williams and containing personal messages from many of his colleagues.
A colleague composed a poem about Neil, which is reproduced here, humorous but touching.
Today we should see many smiling faces
Fun thoughts of Neil-happy memory traces,
With a sense of humour that was dryer
Than his home made cider we’d all admired.
Always a willing hand – never to pass
Fixing a car or cutting a neighbour’s grass
Neil was always in the thick of things
With a cheery grin and all that brings.
A lifetime regular, dancing at Glastonbury
Weekend working was tantamount to blasphemy,
Sorely missed at Williams, we all agree
Though he left us his pan pipes Christmas CD.
Neil the man was always on form
His illness was always bravely born
Now if his wings should start to tear
He’s bound to have something for a handy repair.
D J Locke