Nick had a very varied and interesting life and career. A graduate of Jesus College Cambridge, he married Pat, his American wife, in August 1958. They had 3 sons, each one born in a different continent, as Nick’s distinguished Army career took them to many countries, including Australia, the USA and Germany.
Nick was bitten by the aeromodelling bug whilst in the USA in the late 1950’s, where he was first introduced to model gliders being flown off towlines. Back in the UK, and living in Sussex, the modern era for towline RC gliders can be said to have truly started with the publication of an article in the Aeromodeller magazine in 1968 by Nick Neve and Chris Foss. The models depicted used single function radio equipment and were “of the free flight type of glider design” (according to an extract from George Stringwell’s book on Thermal Soaring). The well-known “BARCS Open rules” which form the basis of the subsequent FAI rules for the F3J class, owe their origin to discussions between Nick and Chris Foss around a kitchen table.
Nick and his family moved to the Malvern area in 1970 and in 1973 he was one of the founder members of the Malvern Soaring Association – still one of the most active soaring clubs in the UK today thanks to Nick’s efforts as club Chairman for many years. The various raffles run by the club were legendary with prizes which included multiple cakes baked by Pat. Nick was an early member of BARCS and a Fellow and Past President of the Association. To assist RC thermal flyers, Nick set up his cottage industry of Eynhallow Avionics producing hand tow and power winches for launching – multiple versions of these are still in wide use today. For the wider Aeromodelling community, Nick acted for many years as the UK’s FAI delegate and his honours include that of a Fellow of the SMAE. Of Nick’s many achievements, the one of which he was particularly proud, was the organization of the inaugural World Championships for thermal soaring (F3J class) in 1998 at the MSA’s flying field at Upton-upon-Severn in Worcestershire. Nick was the moving force behind getting the required UK support to stage this event and he dealt with all the complex administrative arrangements pretty much single- handed. Nick and his wife Pat were excellent hosts and, over the years, welcomed many aeromodellers to Eynhallow, their home.
Besides these activities, Nick enjoyed very many other varied interests. In retirement, he continued to travel widely, was a member of the Malvern Hill Fine Art Society, a member of his local racing pigeon syndicate (owning four birds which he named Mathew, Mark, Luke and John). With his late wife Pat, he devoted much time to the local parish church and in recent times found happiness again with a new companion Allie, an American lady so that Nick spent significant time in the USA over the last couple of years.
Nick will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by his very many friends.
By Steve Hannon, MSA Chairman and Robin Sleight, BARCS Chairman