The people of Bempton have paid tribute to a ‘village champion’ and active member of the community.
Neville Nicholson, who was chairman of Bempton Parish Council and a key figure behind the village’s popular Christmas market has died after a short illness.
A key member of the Bempton RSPB community liaison group, a former school governor at Bempton Primary School and a big supporter of the new village hall project, friends said he thoroughly enjoyed village and country life, was a regular in the local pub and enjoyed spending time with his dogs.
Leah Sharman Butler, acting chair of Bempton Parish Council, said “Neville will be a hard act to follow, he encouraged me to get involved in the parish council and has always been a great help and mentor.
“I will draw upon his advice and support as I take on the role of acting chair.”
Richard Burton, chair of Bempton Christmas Market, said “Neville has been involved with the market since the first one nearly 20 years ago.
“His commitment and dedication helped to make the market the success it is. He was always willing to give his time, enthusiasm and with his many contacts he could be relied on to keep the show on the road.
“This year’s market won’t be the same without him, but will be held in his honour”.
Keith Clarkson, former regional and site manager of the new Bempton RSPB visitor centre said: “Neville, with his links to the village, was instrumental in
helping forge a strong positive relationship between the village, parish council and the RSPB that helped ensure the project was able to move forward successfully.”
Jacquie Jewitt, office manager at Bempton Primary School, added: “Neville was a passionate supporter of the school and was a governor for many years and
took a particular interest in health and safety.
“He was always approachable and willing to lend a hand within school and proved to be a very popular Father Christmas.”
Claire Boston, clerk of Bempton Parish Council, said “Neville was a sincere and genuine character, a friend to many, and will be greatly missed.
“Our thoughts are with (his wife) Jose, family and friends.”