In memory of Neil Bristow
It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of our dear colleague Neil Bristow.
Neil died in the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, on the 24th January 2009 after battling against leukaemia for the previous 18 months. He has been a major force in the development of both Geotec Surveys and the Underground Mapping industry as a whole. From his first involvement in the industry in 1998 where he was employed as regional sales at Emrad PipeHawk where he initially met me as his UK Sales Manager, and Brian Payne, a valued customer. Neil quickly demonstrated his ability to educate and increase awareness of the use of ground penetrating radar as a new tool in mapping underground utilities and its importance in being used as a key technology along side other service tracing methodologies.
After I left PipeHawk to form Geotec Surveys with Brian, Neil and I kept a friendly competitive relationship with each other as rival salesmen targeting very similar customers. After a few months Neil decided to leave the industry to return to data/document storage where he had seen previous success through his own business he had set up with his close friend Leigh Smith.
A few short months after this change we met for a drink to catch up with old times and to discuss future options; it was at this meeting in the Red Lion in Aldershot that Neil agreed to join Geotec as regional sales for the south of England and Wales.
Very quickly after his re-immersion in the Underground Mapping service industry it became clear that Neil had outstanding sales skills and an ability to act as an excellent sounding board for Brian and I to counsel as the company grew.
Neilís input into the business saw Geotec expand rapidly over the following years, opening an office in Yorkshire, taking on more sales and survey staff, offering higher quality and support to our customers, and Neil taking on the responsibility of UK Sales Manager.
Neil took on an important role in promoting the industry as well as the company by undertaking presentations across the UK, writing detailed specifications for clients and finding innovative ways in satisfying the customers needs and building long term relationships throughout his customer base.
When Neil was diagnosed with his illness, it was a bolt out of the blue to him, as he said he just felt a bit tired. Sadly this was to be the start of a long and painful process for Neil that made him suffer from the effects of the medication as well as the leukaemia. After two courses of chemotherapy Neil underwent a bone marrow transplant which took well. However the difficulties of managing the donor marrow, along with vast quantities of medication and the need to suppress his immune system were immense. Although the transplant was ultimately a success and Neil was to go into full remission and be effectively cured of his leukaemia, the overall effect on his system and the reoccurring illnesses he was prone to develop and suffered greatly from, eventually became too much for him.
It was during this 18 month period that Brian and I decided to promote Neil to the board of the company as Sales Director, so that he did not have the day-to-day responsibilities for work, but had an overview and a responsible position to return to once he was fit enough. We also continued to involve Neil as much as possible in the decision making of the business as his input was key to the development of Geotec.
Unfortunately, six months after taking the Directorship, Neilís illness became too much for him and he remained in the Royal Marsden Hospital for a number of months. Ultimately, Neil was unable to recover and passed away peacefully in his sleep.
Many of the companyís staff spent as much time with Neil during this time, as did his many friends and his sister Judith and best man Adrian who together took on all of his personal affairs.
Although Neilís passing still gives us all much sadness, it is good to recall his happy personality and indeed his joking and smiling right up to his last night in hospital. I was lucky enough to see Neil on that last day, and he was free from many of the treatments and back to his old self. We could not share a beer or glass of wine on that particular visit (as many of us had at many other times sitting by his bed), but his spirit and the warmth of his friendship were shining bright that day, a happy memory I will always cherish. When Neil Bristow was on form there was no-one you would rather spend a few happy hours with.
It is pleasing to note that at Neilís funeral people travelled from across the UK to pay their respects, many of those there had been work colleagues from many years ago and may not have seen Neil recently, but due to who he was, they all had a desire to say a last goodbye to a very special person.
From all at Geotec surveys we are committed to ensuring Neilís memory is kept alive and that the welfare of his two sons Oliver and Shaun are supported where possible.
Neil Bristow; A dear friend, a close colleague and an unforgettable personality, our thoughts are with you.
From all at Geotec Surveys.
Nigel KnowlesBack to top