21 March 1954 – 3 December 2017
Nigel was born on the 21st of March 1954 to Geoffrey and Elizabeth (always known as Betty) Bunce in Purton near Swindon. He grew up in “The Hyde” named after Anne Hyde, the wife of James II, one of the many facts that Nigel loved to share.
Nigel was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in1959 at a time when the treatment for this disease was not as good as it is today. Nevertheless, the excellent care he received throughout his childhood from his mother, Betty, kept him going. For instance, Betty gave up her own career to look after him and constantly monitored his carbohydrate intake by weighing all his food.
Despite suffering ill health, for example Nigel had a heart attack when only in his 30s; he was well known for his cheerful disposition and always stayed positive, calm and optimistic in the face of adversity. When missing their flights home from a Spanish holiday, Nigel’s response to his partner, Mark, was ”that’s good, we can spend another day in bed together”!
Nigel’s first job was at Harris’s bacon factory, followed by a time at a flour mill and then 19 years as a Laboratory Technician at St Ivel, (the largest yoghurt factory in the country at the time – another Nigel fact), where he was very happy. Nigel was made redundant when St Ivel closed 13 years ago; after that he spent his time doing gardening and odd jobs. He had always lived with his parents but over the last few years the roles had changed and Nigel became involved in the care of his parents alongside his brother and family.
Nigel’s love of nature was a very important part of his life. He was an enthusiastic gardener, his favourite flowers were anemones and roses as well as the alpine plants he loved. He also kept tropical fish, he had 3 tanks where he made a little money breeding fish for sale and he loved to sit indoors watching wild birds feeding from his bird feeders. His love of nature even extended to the rats that were feeding from his bird feeders, rather than putting down poison he simply cut back the branches they were using to reach the food. He loved frogs, toads and ladybirds; another one of Nigel’s facts is that one toad is worth 10 frogs when it comes to keeping slugs at bay.
Despite Nigel’s distinctive waddling gait, due to fused bones in his feet, he was a GOC member for over 40 years spending at least 30 of those as telephone contact for the Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Avon Group (as it was in those days) and later joint group coordinator for the North Wiltshire group. He was a familiar sight on walks all over the south of England, being towed along by his partner, Mark.
Nigel had a rather naughty sense of humour; he was a very funny man, good with people, very chatty and gregarious with a love of life. He looked on the bright side of life and was always looking for the next adventure.
Having had an operation to install a heart pacemaker in September of 2017, Nigel was feeling better than he had for many years. He spent a very full last few days meeting GOC friends for a mid-week walk and enjoying a trip to a garden centre with Mark’s mother. Sadly, Nigel passed peacefully away in the early hours of 2nd December, cosily tucked up in bed having drunk the mug of hot milk that he always had at bedtime.
Nigel is survived by his beloved partner, Mark, younger brother Richard and sister-in-law. Our condolences go out to Mark and Nigel’s family at this sad time.
20 December 2017