Mr A. F. Neal

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MR Alan Frederick Neal, of Robertson Road, Grantham, has died. He was 86.

Born in Grantley Street, Grantham, to Forence and Percy Neal, he was the youngest of eight children. The family attended St John’s Church, and at one time father and six sons sang in the choir. They moved to Victoria Street when Alan was seven. His mother died when he was 10, and he was brought up by his father and two sisters.

He went to Spitalgate Primary School and then to the Boys’ Central School, where he enjoyed football and cross country running. Football was his lifelong interest, and he was a keen follower of Nottingham Forest, but rarely had chance to go to see them. He could not resist kicking a ball (or even a tin can) and when in the YMCA he organised a team of his own to play friendlies. He then played for a Ruston and Hornsby team and went on to join that of Fosters Builders. A slight, nippy inside right, he had a trial with Lincoln City Football Club. His final game was with a Post Office side, at the age of 45, and he was proud to be in a team with his two sons, Andrew and Nathaniel.

At the age of 14 he joined the Grantham Journal as an apprentice linotype operator. Two years later, Miss Beryl Harris (aged 14) joined the Journal editorial staff, and it was not long before they enjoyed walks together. They were married in St Wulfram’s Church in September 1947, and so celebrated their Diamond Wedding four years ago.

Finishing his apprenticeship, Alan went to the Grantham Guardian, a newspaper then recently set up by Denis Kendall, the local MP and head of BMARC on Springfield Road. The works were on Wharf Road. It later became Palmers Printing and moved to Swinegate.

He then left printing to work for his father-in-law at the Midland Builders’ Merchant Company on Harlaxton Road, which later became Ellis and Everard, then Travis Perkins. After nearly 25 years he had to give up work because of poor health. He was declared physically unfit for the armed forces in the Second World War. His five brothers and two brothers-in-law were in the services, and Alan was very saddened by the death of two brothers, one in North Africa and one in Italy.

Mr Neal moved with his wife and two sons to Robertson Road in 1959, to the house in which Beryl’s grandparents moved in 1905.

He was asked to be honorary secretary of the Social Club for the Blind, which duties and more he carried out for eight-and-a-half years.

He loved wildlife and took immense pleasure in watching the activities of the birds in the garden. Apart from the news, his favourite television programmes were football and wildlife.

A man with a dry sense of humour, Alan loved words, filling in the quick crossword over coffee, and looked forward to a Sunday evening game of Scrabble with his wife (honours even).

He was the last of his generation of the Neal family. Besides his wife and two sons, he leaves two daughters-in-law, two granddaughters, two great-grandchildren and a step-family, many nieces and nephews, plus the next two generations.

Canon Christopher Andrews conducted the funeral service in St Wulfram’s Church and the lesson was read by the Rev June Rowland.

Family mourners included: Beryl, Andrew and Nathaniel Neal, Barbara Neal, Sandra Neal, Jenni Neal, Christine Slater, David Neal, Neil and Rosemary Potter, Patrick Neal, Brian and Julia Brewer, John and Christine Neal, Richard and Linda Neal, Michael and Miriam Neal, Norman and Linda Jackson, Maria Rudkin, Peter and Isobel Jackson, Paul and Kate Barker, Elaine Neal, Mr D. Harris, Mr and Mrs P. Harris, Christopher Harris, Michael Harris, Jenny Berrow, Mrs J. Hemstock, Mr and Mrs I. Hemstock, Mrs J. Hamilton, Mrs J. Wooldridge, Mr and Mrs A. Wooldridge and Mary, Gary and Evie Tupper, Mrs T. Golding, Mrs D. Grundy and Richard Potter.

Also in church were: June Bennett, Val York, Mrs D. Smith, Mrs McKiernon, Barbara Teague, Daphne Gray, Sheila Holland, Mr and Mrs Croft, Bryan and Elke Baum, Mary Pointer, Maurice and Lesley Sutton, Miss W. Barnes, Eileen Duffy, Sue Hodgson, Andrew Hodgson, Margaret Mason, Gwen Ward, Marion McDonald, Tom and Betty Fernyhough, Peter Clark, John and Margaret Cragg, Ann Clark, Martin and Barbara Thornton, Pamela Holden, Joyce Simpson, Verity Ferguson, Brian Stagg, Philip and Suzanne Collins, Ron and Mary Young, Mr and Mrs Sentance, Tom Brooks, Josephine Mason, Stuart Johnson, Sue Redmile, Roy Dolby, Anne Jablonski, George and Gloria Taylor, Mick and Pat Short, Wendy and Darren Parker, Mike Townsend, Matthew Crorken-Smith, Anita Awcock, Mrs J. Green, Ron Baker and Michelle Clareys.

Funeral arrangements were by Robert Holland, St Catherine’s Road, Grantham.