Neil’s death was sudden and unexpected and came as a great shock.   He always seemed as strong as an ox, so when he collapsed and died it was almost impossible to comprehend.  We had friends staying for Christmas at the time and our sons flew over immediately. We had three days of talking and weeping and drifting until we were told that in France by law, we had to have Neil’s body buried or cremated within six days.

His death was so sudden that many things were left unsaid.  We all needed to be close to Neil one last time to say the things we would have said if we had known he was going to die.

Neil’s body was cremated in a private ceremony at 10.30 on a dark misty morning near Agen. A couple of minutes before the ceremony the sun broke through the clouds throwing yellow beams across the room. We bought white and yellow lilies and we stood around the coffin holding hands and telling Neil and each other how amazing it had been to have him in our lives.  Neil’s beautiful songs were echoing gently around the room. Neil’s death was too sudden for us to be able to share these last moments.

Next week we are having a small celebration of Neil’s life with our new friends in France and later in the UK with some of our oldest friends in Suffolk.  In a few months there will be a memorial concert for everyone who loved Neil and Neil’s music.  The date time and place are yet to be confirmed.  There is still so much to do but we will let everyone know as soon as it is decided.