Nigel's brother Martin gave a lovely Eulogy on behalf of Nigel at his Requiem Mass on Friday 22 July 2022 at St. Mary's Church.
Nigel Anthony Spencer Weale was born on 17th March 1961 at Llandrindod Wells War Memorial Hospital in Radnorshire, mid-Wales. He was the third child of the Reverend Colin Weale and Joyce Weale; brother to my sister Karen and me.
For obvious reasons he was nearly called Nigel Patrick, but as there was an actor of that name at the time, the idea was dropped in favour of the name we know.
More recently Nigel was diagnosed as autistic, but in 1961 the word did not exist, so when at the age of three months Nigel started screaming non-stop for ten days, he was shipped off to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. He was in and out of Great Ormond Street until the age of ten. On this first occasion, he was in for eighteen months.
Life has changed. In 1961 there were no motorways and an expedition from mid-Wales to London would take a whole day. We moved to Hertfordshire.
Dad took a parish in Hertford, where trains from Hertford North ran straight to Kings Cross station. Great Ormond Street is an easy walk from the station. Needless to say, Mum and Dad were frequent visitors to Great Ormond Street.
When at junior school, incredibly, a teacher took a class on a visit to a local slaughter house. Nigel became a vegetarian. He slipped in and out of vegetarianism all his life. He loved animals and hated cruelty.
Most of his primary years were spent attending special schools. Although Nigel was bright, his academic progress was slow, so it was a real achievement when he went up to Sele Secondary Modern School at the age of eleven. Nigel didn't like school and being different, he was frequently bullied.
As a family we had all sorts of adventures, like the occasion that Nigel threw sticks over the fence to help the street cleaners by giving them something to do. Karen and I were sent to bed. On holiday in Westward Ho when Nigel was nine, we went to see the Jungle Book at the cinema. Thereafter, we went on elephant walks, in line, with Nigel in front.
After school Nigel started his apprenticeship with a local plumber. Nigel seems to have had poor luck through much of his life, because the master to whom he was apprenticed, died suddenly of a heart attack before Nigel finished. Happily, he found a position with a different plumber. Nigel enjoyed working with his hands and really enjoyed tinkering with engines; particularly motorbike engines. There is a photo of him on his BSA Bantam on the back of the service sheet.
When the plumbing world went through a lull he had a job at McMullen's Brewery where he operated the filling machine. He knew that machine as if it were human.
He got a job at an old people's home in Buntingford where he was noted for his care and compassion for the elderly residents. This ended suddenly one day when he was knocked off his motorbike on the way to work and broke his shoulder and couldn't ride his bike for many months.
During this time, I think it was 1980, he had good luck one day which set in motion events that would lead his life in a different direction. He bought a Tottenham Hotspur scratch card which yielded a sought-after asterisk. He submitted his card and sure enough, at half time at White Hart Lane, Nigel's ticket was drawn. He had won a thousand pounds.
Immediately he became interested in football and bought a Tottenham season ticket. For several seasons he and his friend John travelled to Tottenham for all home games.
One day, Tottenham was at home to Everton. According to Nigel, it was a rowdy match and he found himself sitting in his usual seat, but all the Tottenham spectators around him were baying for the blood of the meek, mild and perfectly behaved Everton fans seated across the pitch. In an instant he decided to change his allegiance. In an instant his life took a new course.
He bought an Everton season ticket and for years, travelled from Hertford to Liverpool to see his new love. He immersed himself totally in everything Liverpool. He made friends with several players.
When Mum and Dad retired to Caister, Nigel moved to Darwen in Lancashire. It wasn't Liverpool, but it was near-ish and he could afford it. When he couldn't get to Everton he went to Blackburn Rovers matches and made friends with several players there. For some years, Alan Shearer would send Nigel Christmas cards, of which he was very proud.
However, this was not quite the dream he had hoped. He was not accepted well by the local community. He was beaten up and burgled, so one day I took a van up to Darwen and rescued him and brought him to Caister. He worked locally and stayed with Mum and Dad for a while, but his Liverpool dream had not died and he moved to Toxteth.
Although he became involved with the Caribbean Club and his church, life for him was very lonely in Liverpool and he became ill. Fortunately, Father Peter Morgan took him under his wing. It was at this time that he became a catholic. For a second time I took a van to evacuate him and he moved in with Mum and Dad permanently. He looked after them and they looked after him.
Although his Liverpool dream had shattered, he found new friends in Norfolk, no more so than at this church, which meant everything to him, as did St. Vincent de Paul and the Knights of St. Columba,
For some time he was a volunteer on the Lydia Eva, where he enjoyed working with engines again.
Nigel would help anyone if he could. He made new friends, but was not always the best judge of character. He allowed one of them to stay with him for some time. Nigel's hospitality was severely abused and eventually the police became involved and later still this individual committed an even greater tragedy. Every community has its wolves and they seemed to find Nigel. Nigel was kind and gentle. Although he had many good friends. his autism did not prepare him to defend himself against wolves. Nigel himself, hated injustice. He followed events in Ukraine keenly right up until the end.
Nigel was very matter of fact. When his cancer was diagnosed, he said: “Of course I've got lung cancer. I have smoked all my life.” He never complained. He was equally blunt about his faith, which was more like a statement of fact. He chose today's hymns and readings some time ago.
Nigel knew where he was going. He will never be cheated or beaten up again. He has no more pain. There are probably plenty of motorbike engines to tinker with.
He had a dry sense of humour and laughed a lot. He had a lot of fun. He loved dancing to rock and roll. Where most people saw junk, Nigel saw treasure. He loved car boot sales. He loved cheese. I sure that heaven has a lot of cheese.