Here's a message from his widow ---
Please find the below message from Neil's wife - Kim. She is very grateful for your support to Neil over the last few months which makes very interesting reading! Kim is slowly picking up Neil's emails for those who have sent message directly to Neil's email address - I'm sure she'll reply to these in due course but I'm sure you can imagine there's a lot to sort out at the moment!
Thank you for all your kind words. Neil passed away on 08 July 2015 in Southend University Hospital despite valiant efforts of the nursing staff. Much of his work has been left unfinished and everywhere I go I seem to be presented with reminders of Neil as his work is lying in every room just as he left it.
Neil would no doubt have been surprised and delighted at the attention his death has caused. Myself, I am not surprised at the response to Dave’s original post. Neil was all of the things that people have said and more. I am apt to write long-winded essays on most subjects (rather than ‘get to the point’ as Neil would say) and my only regret is that Neil is gone and cannot respond to you all personally, which I have no doubt he would have given the chance. Your words have bought much solace to his family who are immensely proud of him (not that he would believe it, being his own worst critic).
Neil was, as may will know, a plain talker & no doubt his sharp wit (or tongue at times) will have ruffled a few feathers, but he genuinely believed that if someone was wrong he had a duty to the past craftsman to ensure the correct information was out there and he made no apology for that (or anything else now I come to think of it).
Our house is as Neil left it- an Aladdin’s cave of ‘stuff’, in little order and with no direction. He knew he was ill but preferred to work rather than face the end with any order. He was a perfectionist and an artist first, which left little time for mundane things like filing or writing a will. Instead, he finished off some orders that had been lying around for months and put someone straight on a few points!!
I can honestly say that life will never be the same again and despite my sadness and the very difficult end I know that Neil is now at peace and is pain free. He was given an extra 18 months since his initial shave with death (no pun intended) but has spent much of this time in bed and in considerable pain; for which he refused to take painkillers for fear this would worsen his condition.
Neil was nothing if not frank and we had many conversations during this time but none involved what would happen should he die and I now face many challenges I too refused to accept should this sad day come.
Whilst I can deal with the most practical things I am not technical and despite Neil’s efforts to force me into the 21st century in regard to PC’s, tablets (in fact anything technical); I am now forced to face the possibility that I was completely reliant on Neil in this regard (and many others) and when things start going wrong I will now have to either learn or live in a tent!! His shop and website will remain as is until such time as I can find someone to finally close up. I expect I will have to learn how to apologise graciously (something Neil was not good at) when I learn how to refund duplicate orders or because I can’t find the items he has listed!
Neil always threw himself into anything he was interested in almost to the point of obsession, craving knowledge which he was able to transfer to real life projects. He was a perfectionist and never satisfied with own output (which was bloody annoying from my perspective as it was better than anyone else could do even with years of practice).
I have been asked which charities Neil supported in order that his friends could make donation in his memory. Neil was a donor to Essex Air Ambulance and supported the work they do, especially in responding to road traffic accidents involving motorcyclists. Donations can be made to Essex Air Ambulance via https://www.justgiving.com/Kim-Miller69
Anyway, I am sure he is looking down on you all (or up probably) happy that he made an impression and his work is so much appreciated, with a pie a pint and bloody huge cigar (just 3 of the many things he has been robbed of for the last 18 months).
Neil’s funeral will be held in Colchester, Essex next Friday (17 July 2015). If anyone would like to attend or would like more information please do not hesitate to contact me by private message (via Jade).
Kind regards to you all,