SAYING GOODBYE: Tributes flowed in over social media to farewell Neville French, one of Warwick’s best-known “characters”. Picture: contributed
SAYING GOODBYE: Tributes flowed in over social media to farewell Neville French, one of Warwick’s best-known “characters”. Picture: contributed

Tributes flow in for Rose City gentleman

THE Warwick community is still reeling from the shock of the sudden passing of Neville French, a renowned local "character",

Neville died at Warwick Hospital on Saturday night, losing his battle with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer after only six weeks.

Once the news of his passing reached the wider community, dozens of residents took to social media to share their memories of Neville.

"You were a kind face around town and your quick handshake usually caught me off guard, but was nice in a world where there aren't many people willing to grab your hand," Warwick resident Alana Hurse wrote.

"We would often see Neville walking around so smartly dressed or on the park bench and thought how content he seemed with his routine each day and just having a random chat," added the Abbey of the Roses Facebook page.

Neville's sister Deborah Joy said their final goodbyes were difficult but tranquil.

"We were with him throughout everything, it was so special and peaceful," Ms Joy said.

"I cannot praise the Warwick (Hospital) staff enough for the compassion with which they cared for Neville.

"I'm so proud of him, because he really had to work hard to accept that this is life, and his beautiful heart and soul just kept on exuding through it all."

Ms Joy said Neville had a myriad of hobbies growing up and spent much of his adolescence around the Sandy Creek area, trying everything from school sports and fishing to origami and theatre productions.

However, he was probably best known throughout the Warwick community for his "spiffy" sense of style and stopping anyone walking past his park bench in town to have a chat.

"He was all about enjoying life - always sharing with others to take it easy and relax," Ms Joy said.

"He loved wearing a vest and tie whenever he went out, no matter what, he loved it and always complimented others.

"He loved keeping fresh, doing his hair, and always looking spiffy - a man of distinction and style was our Nevie."

Warwick resident John Walsh agreed, saying that he and Neville forged a unique friendship over the years.

"He was another character around town, always saying g'day to people and shaking your hand and everything," Mr Walsh said.

"He was always having lays on the benches along the street - outside our store, outside the bank, and outside the post office.

"He was always dressed up, and he was always happy, so I think everyone could learn a little bit from him."

Ms Joy said the outpouring of memories from Neville's fellow community members was "touching".

"It's just amazingly beautiful what the Warwick community has done for Nevie, our baby brother," she said.

"He was the most considerate, courageous, and brave soul, and he made Warwick his stage."

Neville's funeral service will be streamed online on Tuesday, May 12.

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