Lancaster journalist dies, aged 73

Neil Ryder loved being close to the sea and was a leading light at Morecambe Sailing Club.
Neil Ryder loved being close to the sea and was a leading light at Morecambe Sailing Club.

A highly respected journalist who was a leading light in Morecambe Sailing Club has died suddenly, aged 73.

Neil Ryder, also a member of fundraising group the Lancaster and Morecambe Lions for more than 16 years, won an award for outstanding service to Morecambe Sailing Club alongside his wife Rosie in 2016.

Neil lived in Scale Hall, Lancaster and after a successful career in farming journalism moved into public relations (PR), promoting many organisations with skill and passion.

Originally from Nantwich, Neil met his wife at an advanced drivers group and they were married in October 1977. They had two daughters Helen and Kirsty, and two grandchildren Ethan and Sammy-Mai.

Neil worked for many years for UK agricultural newspaper Farmers Guardian. While working at their head office in Preston he and the family moved to Lancaster where they rented a farm bungalow. They loved the city so much they stayed.

“He absolutely loved the outdoors,” said his daughter Helen.

“He was the kid who never grew up, happiest when he was covered in mud or out with the sailing club. He really enjoyed his work and meeting people through the Lions and the sailing club. And family was very important to him.”

Neil was secretary for the Lions, did their PR and won awards for their website on multiple occasions.

As a member of Morecambe Sailing Club, he crewed the rescue boat as often as he could and was the club’s publicity officer.

Ivan Huff, his close friend and fellow Lion and member of the sailing club, said: “He was a great guy, very well liked and will be greatly missed by everybody.”

Neil also did voluntary PR for many others including Carnforth Choral Society and Westgate School. His press releases and photos were often published in local newspapers.

One of his most recent fundraising activities saw him take part in the Big Morecambe Bay Dip on New Year’s Day.

Neil collapsed and died suddenly at home on February 8. The family thanked the ambulance service who attended for their hard work trying to save Neil.

His funeral will be held this Friday at Lancaster and Morecambe Crematorium at 11.45am followed by an informal gathering at Morecambe Sailing Club. Donations welcome for Lions Club International and the Royal Lifeboat Institution. No black tie - Neil hated it!