Neil Trafford passes away

As Anders Hanson has written earlier today:

It’s so hard to write this.  As some of you may know, Neil Trafford has died in a car accident.  I wasn’t sure if I should write anything here so soon, but when I started writing things down I found that although it was upsetting it was also helpful.

Neil was one of those amazing people who was not only a really committed Liberal Democrat and a phenomenal campaigner, but was also great fun to be with, was very outgoing and sociable and had a real normal life outside of the party.

Neil was hugely popular with those he worked with, and with good reason, as he was both cheerful and effective in great measure. He will be very much missed and our thoughts are with his family.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • Sal Brinton 25th Nov '08 - 7:38pm

    This news is absolutely dreadful. Neil was so full of life, and always a pleasure to work with, and (more importantly) to be a friend. As a co-trainer over the last dozen years or so, I was always impressed by his grasp of political issues, and how he could translate them into practical campaiging.

    Ed’s right, he was one of the best, and I just can’t imagine a world without him in it. I hope his family know how much he was loved amongst the Liberal Democrats. A light has gone out.


  • Hywel Morgan 25th Nov '08 - 7:49pm

    I’d echo the comments of Ed above and others on various blogs. Neil was someone I worked with for several years at ALDC, on the LDYS exec and since then around the North West.

    His enthusiasm seemed limitless, maybe it was. It’s just so hard to accept he won’t be around any more.

  • Charles Anglin 25th Nov '08 - 8:24pm

    Neil was lovely, clever, mischevious and fun. I’m speechless that someone who just ate up life should have his future snatched away from from him so horribly.

    I’m so sorry to hear this dreadful news. he will be missed by everyone who’s life he touched.

  • Rob Blackie 25th Nov '08 - 8:57pm

    That’s terrible.

    He was such a fun guy. And so young.

  • This is a terrible shock. I didn’t know Neil well but he was my team’s ALDC person at a Kickstart event back in 2001. He was so cheerful, helpful and friendly and as others have said so full of life.

  • Karl Liljenberg 25th Nov '08 - 10:33pm

    Neil was, and I can’t beleive I’m saying was, without a doubt the best type of person. A real rare gem.

    He was the type of person to always empathise, to without fail consider other people. I doubt I will ever again have the honour to know such a genuine, loving and loveable person.

    Neil will be immensley missed, I personally will never forget him.

  • Neil was literature officer at Sedgefield.

    I can only echo what others have said – he was a brilliant campaigner and a wonderful person and it just seems so shocking that he’s gone.

    He will be missed terribly.

  • Michael Carchrie Campbell 25th Nov '08 - 11:53pm

    Neil was a friend I met at conference, and then usually on Polling Day in Manchester Council elections. His campaigning was excellent, and he was tremendous fun to be with.

    I found it tremendously difficult to take in that we’ll not see his cheeky grin again.

    I know he will be missed terribly.


  • Graham Smith 26th Nov '08 - 11:44am

    I only met Neil a few times, I really liked him and I’m totally gutted by this news. I’ve been meaning to get in touch with him again for ages… wish I did when I had the chance.

  • Jenny Shorten 26th Nov '08 - 12:50pm

    I and many others in Swindon and the west country will be devastated by this news. Neil’s first membership of the Lib Dems was here in Swindon in his mid teens. As constituency chair at the time, I took to this keen and already incredibly knowledgeable teenager from the start. He quickly outstripped many of us in understanding and political knowse and we were so pleased (and a little proud) to see his career take off in Cornwall, and then ALDC and beyond.We kept in touch irregularly, but I am also grateful I had the chance to have an impromptu supper with him, his partner and the local team at conference in Bournemouth. Typical of the man, we were waiting to get seated at one of the local restaurants, and it was busy. Without a second thought he dived in – found a couple of extra chairs and invited me and my dinner companion to join in. Such instinctive generosity spread throughout his dealings with everyone and his natural modesty meant he never really understood how highly he was regarded. A big hole is left in so many lives.

  • Ashley Byrne 26th Nov '08 - 7:17pm

    Neil and I sat next to each other for Nick Clegg’s speech at this year’s party conference and that last conversation will live me forever.

    He was a really passionate Liberal to the core and someone who was a good and loyal friend to me over many, many years.

    Because of our busy lives, I didn’t really see him enough despite living in the same city!

    I know that as well as being a great Liberal, in recent years he’d found love too – and my heart goes out to his partner and his family.

  • Swithin Long 26th Nov '08 - 7:37pm

    I first met Neil when I was the Constituency Organiser in Taunton and he came to volunteer for a while.

    He was a lovely person and he was always up for a catch up chat and a drink at conference. I will miss him very much.


  • Ashley Byrne 26th Nov '08 - 7:50pm

    I echo what Swithin just said. He was always up for a drink and a catch up and he had time for everyone.

    Whenever I felt the party might be heading the wrong way, a chat to Neil would always convince me that deep down we’re all one big ‘Liberal’ family.

    The other thing about Neil was that, despite being so busy within the party, he knew and recognised there was a life and world beyond the political whirl.

    I’ll never forget him.

  • David Evans 26th Nov '08 - 8:21pm

    Neil was simply one of the best. He made it an absolute pleasure to work like mad for the Lib Dems.

  • I’m priviledged to have been able to call Neil a friend for the last eleven and a half years. As our first ever Political Assistant in Swindon (1997-2000), he was always on the mark with his advice on what stance we should take. He was a great campaigner and his efforts ensured we built up our strength on the Council to it’s largest ever in 1999 (10 seats). After a stint at ALDC, he then went on to employ those skills so successfully in the North West leading directly to the election of at least one new MP in 2005.
    When I was Neil’s boss, he also became my friend – a friendship which continued until his tragic death on Sunday. He was one of a kind – intelligent, funny (he had a incorrigable sense of humour), committed and persuasive. I’ll miss him hugely.

  • Why has Manchester City Council not yet made any announcement, or amended his contact details page – absolutely standard for any local authority that is on the ball?

  • Jim Mackrell 27th Nov '08 - 12:42am

    I am a Manchester Labour activist and I heard yesterday of this tragic news. I was a political opponent of Neil but I never heard a nasty word said about him. He was a very talented campaigner and a formidable opponent. He will be a great loss to the Lib Dems and his constituents and a greater loss for his family. Rest in Peace Neil

  • Daniel Russell 27th Nov '08 - 12:53pm

    I had the pleasure of joining LDYS with Neil in 1994 when we attended our first conference together in Brighton and we became instant friends. We lost touch in recent years but regained contact this summer and it was just like picking up where we left off. He was truly a good person, had a fabulously witty sense of humour and was a committed liberal. I am devastated that he has been taken from us at such a young age but proud to have known such a one off. My thoughts are with Peter Paul and his family who suffer his loss the deepest.

  • Jackie Ballard 27th Nov '08 - 3:27pm

    Sixteen years ago a 17 year old Liberal came to live in my house with Chris and I and for a time was my right hand person (all for love and board and lodgings). We had fun and the occasional argument and I was thrilled to bits when Neil went on to achieve great things and kept that commitment and passion burning in the North West as well as the South West.

    Like everyone here I was shocked and saddened when I heard the news of his death. I hope he knew in life how much he was loved, admired and respected – it certainly shines through from all the comments I have read.

    Too, too young Neil and too, too sad

  • Lee Jarrett 27th Nov '08 - 4:00pm

    How great is the Engligh Language and yet I cannot find words to express how sad and empty Neils passing makes me feel.

    To all Neils family be you friend or kin I offer my condolences.

  • David Robinson 27th Nov '08 - 4:18pm

    Neil was a fun person to be with. I always enjoyed his company. I last worked with him at the Crewe by election where he was alwys cheerful no matter what the pressure. He trained me in desk top publishing when I started working for the party. I will miss him

  • Roger Crouch 27th Nov '08 - 4:33pm

    Such sad news.

    With his cheery and enthusiastic personality, Neil was always encouraging others to get involved and through Neil I got involved in LDYS – never looked back!

    Neil will be sorely missed. My condolences to his family and friends.

  • Jonty Cardenas 27th Nov '08 - 6:54pm

    I am devastated by the news that I have read today in the MEN, I have known Neil for well over 8 – 9 years and he was always open honest and the type of guy who would make you feel welcome. Nothing was too much for him and I dont think in the years I knew him he had any bad words to say about anyone.
    I now work for Manchester City Council and know that this is a very big sad loss to his party, colleagues and most of all and importantly his family. he will be missed very very much. God bless you Neil and thank you you for everything x

  • Jon Hubbard 27th Nov '08 - 9:43pm

    About 18 years ago I remember a young man coming in to my room at the Liberal Office in Marlborough. I was a ‘green behind the ears’ agent who rapidly discovered that this sixth form student had so much to offer.

    As he progressed to bigger and better things within the party, his achievements never came as a shock, there was a real political skill there that most were simply in awe off.

    When a friend phoned me yesterday and said what had happened I was horrified and shocked – what a loss. Our prayers are with his friends, family and loved ones at this time.

  • Elizabeth Shenton 29th Nov '08 - 3:33pm

    I still can’t take in this terrible news, which is why it has taken me a few days to add my tribute.
    Neil Trafford was my agent for the Crewe and Nantwich bi-election. His zest for life was infectious, and his belief in the work that we were doing was a motivation to everyone. I feel so privileged to have had Neil as my agent, as it gave me the opportunity to work with, and get to know, such a great person. He became a good friend and we stayed in touch after the campaign.
    Neil was funny, caring, intelligent and he possessed a unique charm. I find it so hard to believe that I won’t hear that quirky laugh again.
    Above all though Neil really shone and I know that light will stay in the hearts of everyone who was lucky enough to know him.
    God bless you and keep you Neil – and thank you always.

  • Like so many others I was stunned by this dreadful news – it really is like a beacon of light being extinguished. Like Elizabeth (above) I worked with Neil in the trials and tribulations (and triumphs and fun) of the C&N byelection.

    He was so extraordinary.

    My condolences, and those of all Lib Dems in this area, go to his loved ones.

    Cllr Gwyn Griffiths
    Crewe & Nantwich

  • Andrew Jolly 30th Nov '08 - 12:19pm

    I’m not sure that there is very much more that I can add.

    Living in Australia, I suddenly feel a long way from my Lib Dem friends, my family and my home.

    Reading everything has made me realise how much time has passed since I have spoken to so many people – many of whom, like Neil, I wouldn’t have dealt with on a daily, or even a weekly basis, but nevertheless, people I consider good friends as well as political and professional collegues.

    At such a time of sadness love and best wishes to Neil’s family and friends.

  • Such a terrible loss. Like many I met Neil at by-elections and training sessions. He was a remarkable man with an infectious personality. One of the good guys.
    Best wishes to all of Neil’s friends and family.

  • I think everyone in Manchester was shocked by the death of Neil Trafford.
    However I was doubly shocked to receive a Xmas card signed by John Leech MP and all the local Lib Dem councillors including Neil only yesterday, 23rd December, weeks after Neils death. I think this is grossly insensitive, what do others think?

  • Indeed that would have definately been Neil’s judgement

  • Chris Bovey 3rd Jan '11 - 1:59am

    I only found out just now about this awful news. I knew Niel years ago and will remember him as a lovely guy, such a shame to read he is no longer with us.

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