Monday, January 22, 2007

A Tribute To Neil Best

I realised the other day that two people from my year at school had already died: Penny Laing and Neil Best. While I was thinking of this, I looked on Google to remember when Neil died and discovered one article about him.

I knew Neil from our time at Middle School together - many moons ago - in Fordley, Northumberland. He was an entertaining kid: pretty damn intelligent, amazing at sports, funny in a good way, and actually a genuinely nice person. The swine!

Neil was a big lad, but incredible at football. There was talk he could have gone on and become a professional - like one of his team-mates at Junior level, a certain Alan Shearer - but he was content with playing locally in and around Newcastle.

He married Kelly (nee Ainsley) - who I'd lusted after when we were much younger - and had two children with her, Joe and Will. It was not long after they were married that I last saw Neil, playing a quiz machine in the Social Club opposite where my brother used to live in Dudley. He played a lot of quiz machines, and created quizzes for The Bridge Inn when he used to work there.

My brother rang me to tell me that Neil had died. I was at work and read the whole story online. I had to go home after reading it. While I couldn't make it back for the funeral, it seems like a lot of people did. There were people all the way from Dudley to Seaton Burn cemetary. I visit his, and Penny's, grave every time I go back up North, to pay respect and remember childhood.

Neil died on Feb 5th 2003 from a blood clot that had worked its way around his body from a bruise in his arm to his heart. He was found dead at home by Kelly. He was too young to die.



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