Neil’s Appeal

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“EVERYONE DESREVES DIGNITY IN LIFE AND DEATH, WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS”

Neil Butterworth
Neil with Roger’s ashes

“TO CARE FOR THOSE WHO ONCE CARED FOR US IS THE GREATEST HONOUR” – Tia Walker

How very true, after the last year, it’s never been more important to look after the welfare of our elderly, something that Neil Butterworth knows all about…

Local Conservative Councillor and newly elected Mayor of Pendle, Neil Butterworth has always made time to look after the welfare of locals in our little town. Neil’s fiancée and “good lady” Tina Brennan, worked as a care home manager, this encouraged Neil to delve into caring for many of our elderly community. Sadly, Tina passed away in 2017, but Neil asserts he will carry on her legacy through his good work throughout the area.

He spoke to Colne Life about his list of ten elderly people that he keeps a watchful eye on. Whether it’s shopping, picking up medicine, seeing how they are and if anything, a conversation delivered with a smile, Neil urges people to knock on the door of the older folk to ensure they are doing okay.

The importance of checking in with our elderly was highlighted earlier this year when alarm bells were raised when local folk realised, they had not heard or seen a Roger, a familiar face around Colne for a while.

Concerned for Roger’s welfare, Neil raced over to his home and banged on the door. No answer. His neighbours rang the house. Still no answer. Neil shouted through his letter box. Eventually, Roger opened the door. An independent man, Roger was uneasy at first about receiving the extra help he needed but five weeks on, Neil alongside Maggie Owens, were both taking food round to his home.

It was in February this year when Neil received a call saying that Roger hadn’t been seen for a while. Neil was first on the scene and informed the Police when Roger didn’t answer the door. Concerned for his welfare, they broke into his home, to discover that Roger had sadly passed away.

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“After that, that’s when trouble started, if you will.” said Neil. “The coroner gave them my name because I was there at the death. So, it all came on me, all the questions. I took it on.”

It took Neil, six weeks, just to find out Roger’s date of birth. “It was so frustrating,” sighed Neil, “I couldn’t get his date of birth which was on a screen in front of the lady I was talking to on the phone due to data protection!”

“There should be a connection with every housing association and council. Not just ours, but throughout the country. There should be a connection in case somebody dies, and they have no family. Everyone deserves dignity in life and death, we are all human beings.

“The funny thing is, I never knew Roger’s last name, I had known him seven years. It’s a shame that the old people in the community can pass away and be put in a pauper’s grave, but not on my watch. I will hold his ashes for six months in case his family wants to get involved, as a collective we can decide where we are going to spread his ashes,” says Neil.

Neil would like to extend his thanks to the owners of Roger’s local, The Red Lion Pub, for raising funds for his funeral with a raffle, and also Neil Wensley and Maggie Owens, who he calls “great members of the community”along with Cat Peace who created the GoFundMe page to raise more funds for his funeral. Roger was also a frequent customer at the Commercial Hotel, so Cat decided to set the page up to give him the send-off he deserved. Only six people could attend Roger’s funeral, and even though he had no family in Colne, many people wanted to bid him their fond farewells.

“Look after your neighbours, check on the old people,” says Neil. “It takes two minutes out of your time. Some people can’t get out and about every day. It’s nice to be nice. They might tell you to do one, but at least they are alive to tell you to do that!”

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