A very sad loss.
|Colin Leighfield||12/02/2019 15:55:02|
5827 forum posts
i wonder if all those who knew or have met him heard about his sudden and sad death last week? It was very sobering to open the latest RCME when it arrived in yesterday’s post and see a letter from him with a photo of his excellent Fw190A8.
Apart from his passion for model planes he was also an outstanding motorcycle racer, being a TT winner and perhaps unique in his ability to win solo or sidecar. A keen sailor as well who had only recently put his racing yacht up for sale. He frequently exchanged information on the BMFA Facebook page, up to only a few days ago. I first met him when either or just after his sixteenth birthday in 1964 he turned up at the Cabin Club by Sutton Park Town Gate (now the Asian Grill) on an immaculately restored pre-war Royal Enfield 1000cc V-twin with sidecar on L plates. He had done all the work on it himself.
Apparently he was out flying one of his models when it happened and his club reported it on FB. Some of you probably know more about it than I do, but I haven’t seen anything about it on here so thought I would say something. If it has already been reported here or I have missed anything I do apologise.
|mal brewer||12/02/2019 16:36:01|
|291 forum posts|
Hi Colin, sad news indeed.Yes, I knew Nigel was a keen modeller,but I didn't know he was into yachting as well.A friend and workmate of mine ,Colin Bairnston,was his passenger in 83 & 84 at the sidecar TT.He used to ride ( drive? ) the unique Barton Phoenix engine in his sidecar outfit,and he did win a TT with it. He also won a TT on a solo machine,he was only the second person to win a TT on a solo and on a sidecar outfit..I knew he lived in the midlands,as I lived in Birmingham in my younger days,so you tend to follow fellow brummies……….Very sad and a bit ironic that after flirting with dangerous sports all his life,he should meet his end on a model flying site,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Mal
|Peter Christy||12/02/2019 16:43:42|
|1422 forum posts|
Nigel passed away a week ago today (Tuesday, 5th of Feb). He wasn't flying. Our club has acquired a new field, and we had a work party that day to repair the mower and clear some of the site. For some reason, Nigel decided to stay on after everyone else had left, got the mower out and started mowing!
It appears he managed to get it stuck in a muddy patch on the field, and whilst trying to free it, suffered a heart attack. With no-one else up there, he passed away on the field. He was discovered the following morning by a member who had taken a farmer up there to get a quote on trimming the hedges.
We are all still in shock over this, not least because Nigel was forever warning people about the perils of flying alone.
He will be sorely missed. He was one of those characters with boundless and infectious enthusiasm. He was always willing to help out with any task, and acted as a catalyst on the rest of our small group in "getting things done".
I am writing this in the hope that it will serve as a warning to others that it is not just flying on your own that can be dangerous! Most flying sites are in the middle of nowhere, and had it not been for another member happening to visit the site, Nigel could still have been lying up there, undiscovered, today.
If you absolutely must visit a remote site on your own, please let everybody know, and check back in with them when you leave. And DON'T under ANY circumstances mess with machinery of any description - be it a model or a mower - when on your own.
|Colin Leighfield||12/02/2019 18:51:06|
5827 forum posts
Thank you Mal and Peter, the message about the potential dangers of being alone on the flying field is certainly well made.
I’m not sure how long ago, but Nigel moved to live in Devon some years back. In 1967 I saw him at the Double Zero Club in Birmingham with his then latest special, a Featherbed Norton in Manx trim but with a Matchless G80 engine, it looked fabulous. After that I didn’t see him again for a very long time although like many others I followed his amazingly successful racing career. My younger brother saw him occasionally with a couple of other old mates and he was actually with Nigel just before Christmas in the Motor Cycle Museum. I had last bumped into him purely by chance behind the Grandstand on the TT course when at the Classic TT in September 2015. We had a long conversation talking about old times. Since then we have exchanged every now and then on the BMFA Facebook page.
One of those people who had exceptional capabilities but was so unassuming and normal that you would never know. He had been flying model planes in Sutton Park as a kid in the fifties and sixties when Dennis Thumpston was King but I didn’t know about our common interest until quite recently. My sincerest condolences to his family.
|mal brewer||12/02/2019 21:02:08|
|291 forum posts|
Hi Colin, just shows what a small world we live in.I must have unknowingly have met Nigel when he was a youngster,as I used to fly at Sutton Park every sunday during the '50'S& 60's,weather permitting..I left Birmingham in 1964,and moved to Chester,where I still live.Incidentally,another local lad from around here,Donny Williams,also passengered for Nigel at the TT...………………….Mal
|Colin Leighfield||12/02/2019 22:28:49|
5827 forum posts
It is a small world Mal. As a kid I really didn’t have the money to do much and I used to watch the early radio control stuff in the 50s in Sutton Park with a mix of awe and envy! I must have seen you and Nigel as well without knowing who anybody actually was. I went through a number of years when things like motorbikes, women and houses got in the way so after early dabbling with single channel control I didn’t start to get serious until well into the seventies.
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