Thursday, December 04, 2008

Saying Good-bye to Neil Trafford

It is now eight days since I was told that Neil Trafford had died, and to be honest, I'm still struggling with the news.

I have made a few comments in other places but have found it quite difficult to write a full post.

I think I first met Neil in about 1994 when he was getting involved in the Lib Dem Youth & Students, who I then worked for. I have known him ever since as he worked in his various roles in the party and particularly these last few years as he worked as North West Campaigns Officer.

I can't really add much to what has already been said about Neil except to add my name to the long list of people who are proud to have counted him as a friend.

Neil's funeral was held yesterday in Swindon at Swindon Evangelical Church where Neil was and his family are members.

It was a bright sunny afternoon, just as it should be for Neil, and the Church was full.

Neil's parents, Mark and Lynne, spoke very movingly about Neil. They clearly loved him very much and were very proud of him. His father said that they had received many letters and phone calls and had seen the various comments posted about Neil online.

They spoke with great dignity, courage and compassion.

Hannah Trafford read from John 14.

Neil's close friend Emily also spoke about Neil, what a great friend he was, how much fun he was and how much he cared for everyone.

Neil's Pastor, Paul Williams, spoke about Neil and his memories of Neil's lobbying for a more democratic and inclusive church!

The hymns were some of Neil's favourites, Lord Be my Vision, My Jesus My Saviour, Great is the Lord and The Lords My Shepherd.

The service finished with a recording of 'Run' sung by Hannah Trafford, which beautifully sung and very moving.

The service was followed by a reception at a local hotel.

A lot of Neil's family and friends were there, along with many of us from the party. Several of the party's MPs were present, along with party staff, local members from the Swindon area and lots from Manchester.

I never find funerals easy, but it was good to see so many people that Neil had touched during his far too short but incredibly positive life.

If anyone would like to make a donation in Neil's memory please do so to the TEAR Fund - - a charity that Neil supported himself.

Good-bye Neil, and thanks for being you.

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