Neil (Nelly) Walker was at Lendrick between 1962 and 1966.


I retired from Local Government in 1998 after a period as Director of Social Services. I am now Executive Director of the Shaftesbury Society, one of the UK's largest charities. I am living in Chigwell, Essex. I try to keep fit with golf and badminton, I collect antiques and help out in our local village church.
10/01/2002 23:02:25

Neil passed away after suffering a heart attack on 12 January 2002, just two days after writing the above. What follows is Neil's obituary from The Guardian, received from Maurice "Bridgie" Bridgeland on 11 October, 2002.

OBITUARY - Neil Walker

From 1999 onwards, Neil Walker, who has died of a heart attack aged 53, brought the approaches he pioneered in the public sector to the Shaftesbury Society, Britain's largest Christian charity supporting people with disabilities and those on the edges of society. He oversaw five schools and colleges for people with learning difficulties and complex disabilities and more than 50 local units, including homes for people with learning difficulties and day centres for the elderly.

Shaftesbury's ethos fitted with his faith and his partial deafness made him particularly sensitive to the communities he served. People were listened to, their needs were met and there were no barriers against achievement for those with a disability.

As Director of Social Services at Barking & Dagenham from 1992 to 1998, Walker had pioneered the best-value approach to service provision, overseeing moves from institutional care into smaller communities. He introduced the one-stop-shop concept for those seeking help and was instrumental in the development of the Heathlands resource centre for people needing high levels of support, based on the Scandinavian models he had researched.

The son of a bus driver, Walker grew up in Glasgow and left school with no qualifications, having concentrated his efforts on playing hockey. He took menial jobs, passed A-levels at night school and graduated in social administration from Dundee University in 1971. A diploma in applied social studies from Glasgow University followed in 1972, an MA in social services planning and research from Essex University in 1984 and an MBA from Brighton University in 1990.

From 1972, he was a social worker in Lincolnshire, Salford and Suffolk, becoming Assistant Director at Bromley in 1985. Three years later, he was appointed Director of Social Services in Tower Hamlets; in 1990, he moved to Kent as Social Services General Manager. He chaired the area child protection committee of the Association of Directors of Social Services and continued to be involved with the Association after joining the Shaftesbury Society.

While at University, Walker represented Scotland at hockey and he continued to play competitively until the age of 40. A keen golfer and avid antique collector, he was a trustee of the Stroke Association, a deputy church warden and a parochial church councillor. He is survived by his wife Lynn and two children.

Neil Walker, social care reformer, born April 24 1948; died 12 January 2002.

Tom McDonald comments:

"I knew Neil fairly well & he was a vice captain of the Muirs house. I remember once, some of us boys took advantage of Neil's partial deafness when we had a stick with a knife tied to the end and were spearing apples through the bars on the pantry window whilst Neil sat on the back steps cleaning his football boots.

He was a nice guy that I think everyone got on with. He was a terrific hockey player and one of my best memories is of an inter house hockey match, it must have been about 1964, after the houses were altered and a new house, Ochil was brought in. I had previously been a Muir and was now a Devon. The match then, was Muirs v Devon's and the Muirs were awarded a penalty. When Neil walked up to take it, I remember there being quite a groan from the assembled Devon masses on the touchline. The Muirs were delighted and just knew Neil would score. I took my position on the goal line, Neil crouched over the ball. The whistle sounded, I moved to my left anticipating that Neil would put the ball in that direction but no, he put it to my right. I remember everything seemed in slow motion for some reason and as I fell left I brought my right leg up and just managed to get the tip of my boot to the ball and diverted it past my right hand post. The noise was incredible and after the game as we all shook hands, Neil congratulated me on my save. I think this match ended in a draw.

As we left the sportsfield, we were at the top end and Dot Saunders wanted a photograph of the Devon team. I had the photograph for a few years then lent it to Bob Stewart after I left Dunfermline Carnegie Hockey Club and went to play for ICI for a season. I never saw it again, so Bob, if you read this, can I have a copy?"

1st eleven hockey team - 1962

Photo of hockey team

Back row: Ross Cowan, Billy Young, Ron McGill, Alastair Cromarty, Christopher Munro, David Hand, and Sammy Sim.

Front row: Mike Riddle, Leslie Carswell, David Angus, Neil Walker, and Sandy Wilson.

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