Family’s tribute to a ‘fantastic’ man

Ian Steel with son Chris
Ian Steel with son Chris

THE family and friends of both Ian Steel and Neville Payne have spoken of their devastation following the fishing trip that ended in tragedy.

Ian’s partner, Sandie Welsh, 57, described Mr Steel as a ‘jovial and outgoing man with a very strong character’ and said his loved ones were devastated by his death.

Neville Payne

Neville Payne

“He knew his own mind and was very driven, optimistic and fun-loving,” she said.

“We were devastated when we heard. He will be sorely missed. He was a fantastic partner and father.”

Both Ian and Neville had been members of Pocklington Lions Club for several years, with Ian taking the presidency in 2008 , while Neville was president in 2007 and also 2009.

Although recent work commitments had forced the pair to become ‘past’ members, they were still involved in the Lions Community work, including Neville taking on the role of Santa for the club at Christmas and Ian giving his time to maintain the Lions’ Santa sleigh.

Ian’s son, 26-year-old Chris of Nottingham, said that his father and Neville had been the best of friends who were passionate about their fishing, enjoying many trips together.

“They had been doing it for over 20 years,” he said.

“They were always joking and winding each other up. Dad was doing something he loved and they were having a nice time.”

Neville’s wife, Julia, said he had been fishing at Cromwell before, adding: “We thought what a nice, tranquil place it was.

“We could see what the draw was for them.”

She said the family would not know for another week or so how well Neville was recovering. The couple have three children, Jack, 14, and twins Holly and Max, 12.

She said Neville had been told of his friend’s death.

“He will be devastated,” she said. “I am not sure he will go fishing again. He certainly won’t go out in a boat.”

The current president of Pocklington and District Lions Club Graham Gillyon said that both men were well-known in the local area and in Lions Club circles, thanks to their passion for their community.

He has received notes of sympathy from neighbouring clubs following Ian’s tragic death and members have been sending their wishes of a speedy recovery for Neville.

Graham said: “Our Lions Club members are extremely saddened by the death of Ian and hospitalisation of Nev.

“Both guys have given unconditional support to the Lions Club, were popular members and remained good friends when not members.

“Ian was a jovial, social man and very easy to get on with.

“He was always there to help out friends and family and always able to give a view on how the Lions Club should work in the community.

“His advice was always a help and his support for the club invaluable.

“Neville was always on hand to help, he was Santa for us at both the Market Weighton and Pocklington collections and is a great guy.

“The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Ian’s partner Sandie and Nev’s wife Julia who have also been a great help to the Lions over the years.”