When I first moved to Cornwall, I was giving up the life that I knew to join Martyn in Cornwall to start our new adventure together. I was petrified of trying to find a job but I did thanks to a man called Neil.
I could never have wished for a better boss, Neil was what you would ever hope for as a manager. There are so many stories to tell, but two in particular stick in my mind. Some of you may know that me and Marty adopted a very ill and mistreated Greyhound called Duke. Well Duke didn't cope too well when we had to leave him to go to work. Neil's reaction was "Well, you'll just have to bring him into the office with you then".
Was I hearing right? Yep, he genuinely meant it and I was so grateful. Not only had I finally got my childhood dream of having my own dog but to also have permissions to take it to work was like all my Christmas and birthday wishes had come true all at once.
Me and Neil had our own separate offices, but I shared mine with our work colleague Jon. I had a word with Duke before his first day in the office and explained that he had to be on his best behaviour.
Well it didn't take long before I realised Duke's farts were going to be a bit of a problem. I did my best to prevent the vile smell reaching Jon's desk by quickly opening my window but the stench coming out from Duke's backside was just too strong to hide.
One day, the commotion of Jon suffocating at his desk bought Neil to our door. I was trying to control my hysterical laughing / panic at being found out that my dog was in actual fact a stink bomb. Did Duke get evicted? No, of course not because Neil is a true diamond and is one of the loveliest people I have had the privilege to know.
In 2007, I got a new job in the Fire Service as sadly all of our jobs were at risk of redundancy. A few years later Neil eventually moved jobs too and became a sort of handyman for the Eden Project. When I say handyman, Neil was in his element creating all sorts of structures and fancy displays in his very own playground.
When Marty became ill and needed distracting, Neil got him out of the house to work a few hours at the Eden Project. Marty loved it and I didn't have to worry as I knew Neil would take good care of him while he was still on his chemo.
After Marty died I hadn't seen Neil for while and I literally bumped into him and Trish at the entrance of Tesco in St. Austell. After a lot of hugging, Neil told me he had been unwell. I could see in his eyes what he was about to tell me. Bowel Cancer. They'd caught it early and he was recovering well.
Then 2020 happened. Neil's cancer is back and sadly, his doctors can only help to prolong his life. It's an all too similar story to Marty's battle and I am devastated for Neil and Trish. Life is so cruel and no one deserves to go through this.
Both Neil and Trish are an inspirational couple and always manage to have a smile on their face despite the mountains they have both been climbing these past couple of years. They always find ways to be positive and I love being in their company because they are on my same wave length.
Neil couldn't make my walks in September so he has planned his own using my route at Crantock on 15 October, 10am, from the Beachcomber Cafe. We'd both like you to join us for one last walk if you can or donate / sponsor our cause at:
It's not going to be an easy 5 mile walk for Neil or Trish. If you'd like to find out more about them, take a look at Neil's blog: It's Cancer, Not Covid. It's a roller-coaster of a read, raw and real to living a life with cancer.
Blog - Never too Young
This blog is to carry on Marty's fighting spirit and help raise awareness of bowel cancer to others. It is also a place for you to share any of the things you have done or are doing in memory of him.