The Old Aldenhamian Society
t. 01923 851612 e. oas@aldenham.com
Neil Melvill (K1965-70) - In fond memory
31 October 2023
On a bright, sunny day in Hertfordshire, nearly 100 people gathered to say farewell to Neil, a superb supporter of the OAGS. This included 24 from Aldenham, several from the Lutine Golf Society, Ashridge Golf Club and the Hammers (a golfing group of which Neil and some OAs are members).
Neil’s two sons, Alistair and Jonathan, spoke eloquently about their father.
Jonathan highlighted Neil’s love of family life, his loyalty and his kindness, his passion for golf and his constant desire for maximum enjoyment. Only a few months ago, the whole family had enjoyed a wonderful holiday together in Sardinia.
He was a keen sportsman at school, playing football, hockey, cricket, fives and squash. He was House Captain of Kennedy’s before leaving in 1970.
Alistair described how Neil followed his father into the world of banking and investment where he enjoyed a successful career in Standard Chartered Bank, with a few spells abroad in Johannesburg and Hong Kong, and ending his career with the old established investment firm, Henderson Crosthwaite.
Jonathan has also made his career in the world of finance and was flattered when asked by Neil to manage his pension fund. He was a little surprised too as Neil was perfectly capable of doing it himself but this merely showed Neil’s love for his family.
Both Alistair and Jonathan had some touching memories of family life. At Christmas, Santa’s Grotto was essential even though it took hours and hours to assemble. At Easter, Neil would organise an Easter egg hunt which was fun except that the eggs were never found and Neil could not remember where he had hidden them!
Despite working in the City, he never fully embraced technology but Alistair explained that he did manage to sign up to a 4G network which included:-
Garden – he loved his garden with pond, fish and an (unwanted) heron.
Golf –at Ashridge and with the OAGS, Lutine, Seniors and Hammers.
Gastronomy – a good lunch or dinner with plenty of wine was de rigeur.
Generosity – not just with money but also time and family support.
The heron was arguably the biggest challenge and whatever Neil did, the heron kept stealing the fish. One day in the early morning, just as dawn was breaking, Neil saw his opportunity and sneaked up on the heron and dealt it a huge blow with his 7-iron. Keen to make sure he had succeeded, several more blows were added and the heron lay lifeless on the ground. However, as daylight arrived, Neil’s pride was somewhat dispelled as he remembered that he had recently purchased a plastic heron to scare off the real one. The life of the plastic heron was all too brief.
Neil Melvill – His life as an Old Aldenhamian
I first met Neil when we were both selected for the OAFC 2nd XI. Selection is something of a misnomer – we were both available and needed to make up a full team. He was a skilful, hard-working midfielder and difficult to shake off the ball when in possession.
I also met Gill who was a regular spectator at the OAFC matches. She trudged through the mud on Cooke’s Fields, often in atrocious conditions and joined us in the Three Horseshoes afterwards for a well-earned drink. Neil and Gill married and although they divorced more than 20 years ago, they remained on good terms. It was very good to see her at the funeral and here she is holding an OAGS plaque which we placed on Neil’s coffin.
He was also a good squash player. He has played all his life, including OA squash with Phil Murphy, John Yule et al in the North Middlesex League.
As everyone finds, ones running speed has a nasty habit of declining so at this point Neil turned his attention to golf. Always a steady player, and a delight to play with, he joined the OAGS. He won an OAGS trophy on no less than 36 occasions, the first in 1995 when he and John Yule won the afternoon foursomes and the MT Allen Cup, a cup he won 8 times. Neil loved foursomes, especially after a good lunch, so it is no surprise that he won a foursomes trophy 22 times, 6 of them for the Prevost Salver on the infamous European Tour.
Neil played almost every time there was an OAGS event and is probably top of the attendance chart. A regular tourer in the UK and in Europe, he adored the chance to try out the cuisine in each venue and was always keen to examine the wine list. He was great company and his enthusiasm was infectious – and probably responsible for many of my hangovers. The photo on the next page captures all of that joie de vivre.
As a member of Lloyd’s of London, he survived the worst of the crisis in the 80s and 90s but was always supportive of that great institution. He became a member of the Lutine Golf Society and was a conscientious supporter. It was good to see at least 5 LGS members at the funeral.
I must also thank James James-Crook, President of the OA Society, as well as Alexis Shead and Ann Saffery from Aldenham School for their presence.
All these things made it such a memorable experience.
And so we said farewell to a much loved OA who will long be remembered but not as a drug baron which his black Mercedes S-Class, elongated and with darkened windows, would indicate.
We will remember his 4G connectivity which made him a wonderfully kind, loyal and passionate man who contributed to everyone’s enjoyment of life.
God bless you, Neil, and all your family.
Ian Eggleden (SHE1958-63)
October 2023
OASocWhite
The Old Aldenhamian Society
t. 01923 851612
e. oas@aldenham.com
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