IT is with much sadness that we report the death of Neil Shillito lost to cancer.
Neil was a popular and much-liked character in the town and become well-known to those regularly reading the Hedon Blog because he was its most prolific commentator – nobody left more comments on the blog than Neil! He made his first comment on the blog in June 2009 (when not many people were reading the blog let alone leaving comments) and his very first opening line was to announce proudly that he was “4th generation Hedon” and had lived in most areas in the town. On this first occasion he was agitating for a tenants association for the Westlands area.
I think Neil enjoyed politics and had indicated to me a couple of years ago that he intended to stand in these current local elections for the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Neil would have been an excellent candidate and an excellent councillor – he was always willing to argue his corner and not afraid to upset the political apple cart and I believe he stood up for the ordinary people in the street, saying that you didn’t have to be posh, wealthy or part of a big party to be involved as a councillor.
He was proud of his pet shop business on Holderness Road and invited me down to have a look at the place when he moved in there – but I think he really would have liked to have had his business in Hedon if there hadn’t already been a pet shop here. He was a constant critic of the high business rates in Hedon which he said stifled local business and the shortage of social / council housing in the town which he said was needed.
Friends knew him as a cheeky chappie with a real sense of fun. He was always kidding me up and warning me not to censor him on the Hedon Blog – woe betide if I’d ever try! But he was also very thoughtful – when flooding looked like it would occur a couple of years ago, Neil came in for some friendly ribbing because of his ‘floodwatch’ activities; he was going out regularly checking on the river levels so he would be able to warn people in case they burst the banks.
His last comments on the Hedon Blog summed up this thoughtfulness – despite obviously being in a distressed state due to his illness he commented on a post about the improvements made at Horsewell Pond on the 4th March: “Well done, only wish I could be of more use.”
His sister Lisa and friend Carol Hunter have asked me to publish this photo of Neil which they think capture his personality. I am proud and honoured to do so. RIP mate.