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'He would want people to carry on taking risks if that is what gives them pleasure' – tributes to triathlon club member Neil

Neil Carden with wife Clare
Neil Carden with wife Clare

TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular “warm, welcoming and tirelessly optimistic” member of Lymington Triathlon Club who died following a cycling accident.

Neil Carden (64), a father-of-two and an avid runner and cyclist, passed away at Southampton General Hospital on Sunday 11th October – four days after coming off his bicycle during a group ride in Woodlands Road, Ashurst.

Neil’s widow Clare told the A&T of his enthusiasm for life and the love of his very close-knit family.

“He was a good listener, he was warm, welcoming and tirelessly optimistic. He was always cheerful,” she said.

“If he was still with us, he would be encouraging everyone to get on with their lives and enjoy themselves as much as they can, not to wait, and to get on with cycling, running and doing things they enjoy.

“He would want people to carry on taking risks if that is what gives them pleasure, as that was exactly what he did.”

Neil was cycling with four fellow members at the time of his accident around 11am on 7th October. He had been with the Lymington Triathlon Club for more than four years and was its running coordinator.

Clare praised the riders for how they cared for her husband as he was taken to hospital. He was placed on life support but did not regain consciousness.

Neil and Clare had been married for 39 years and together for 48. Rarely apart, the couple often rode together and enjoyed many cycling holidays.

“He was a very enthusiastic runner – he loved running. He loved cycling and he was a reluctant swimmer,” Clare said.

“He’s done triathlons. He did the Salty Dog in Bournemouth and the Mumbles Triathlon in Swansea last summer.”

Neil also completed the Southampton Half-Marathon and had been training for the Southampton Marathon, which was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Lymington Triathlon Club chair Antonia Cox told the A&T members were devastated by Neil’s death, and he would be greatly missed.

“We cannot believe he is no longer here to bound along at the front of our run group or to share that all-important coffee and chat after training,” Antonia said.

“All of us at Lymington Triathlon Club will miss him dreadfully as a witty, bright, kind friend, as a talented, supportive and committed LTC member and running captain, and as the other half of the lovely, caring couple that he and Clare made together.”

Neil was also an enthusiastic dinghy and keelboat sailor for more than 45 years, and made many friends through his membership of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club.

He enjoyed a successful career with leading roles in a number of companies, including as manufacturing director of Wiltshire-based hi-fi manufacturer Naim Audio.

He was also managing director of Parker Bath in New Milton, a firm which produced bathing aids, and he served a stint on Arnewood School’s board of governors.

Neil is survived by Clare and their son and daughter. His funeral will take place at Hinton Park Woodland Burial Ground on Friday 30th October.

The family requests no flowers, but instead for donations to be made towards redecorating the family room at Southampton General Hospital’s neurology department via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/neilcarden

By Thursday, 105 supporters had helped collect £3,615 – far exceeding an initial target of £250.

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