Alasdair Neill - RIP


Active member
Alasdair "Ali" Neill died from cancer in a Plymouth nursing home on 28th October.
He had a real passion for all underground explorations, caves and mines. He played a pivotal role during his 28 years associated with the Matienzo Caves Project, especially in recent years with his survey work in Cueva Vallina, the South Vega System and the Four Valleys System, amongst others.
He had a real love of the underground - there was rarely a day during the expeditions when he wasn't underground. And when he wasn't, he would be scouring the hills for new entrances or digs, or drawing up cave surveys.
As far as the Matienzo Caves Project was concerned, Ali was the complete speleologist - a very competent rigger and explorer, meticulous cave surveyor, conscientious scribe for his trips and finds and a patient educator, passing on his knowledge and skills to the Matienzo "newbies".
He will be greatly missed.

Matienzo cavers and others are posting tributes and memories on the Matienzo Caves Facebook page:
Despite Ali (and many other Tamar Valley explorers) and I being on a totally separate page in terms of our views on access, behind the scenes we shared some good email banter about the details of various sites. I am a details man, Ali was also a details man, but on a bigger scale. He figures in PCG journals, with his surveys and attention to detail from the early 80s. We didn't cross paths in person, but I was very familiar with his work and passion, as many others were.

I didn't get to grille him on what he was up to with all his surveying and work he was doing....there may have been a Dines, Collins or Henwood calibre of work in progress. I sincerely hope that he made a contingency for his work to be realised. It would probably be best at home in the record office.

There are many historians, cavers, explorers and true enthusiasts but people who combine all the elements are quite rare. Ali was one such person. It's a shame our "relationship" started so late, as I had just started to build a decent relationship with him comparing notes and memories of old explorations.




Active member
Details for Ali's funeral have been received from Brigid Neill, Ali's sister:
The funeral will be on Thursday 10th November at 2pm
Western Mill Cemetery Lodge
Ferndale Road
PL2 2 EP

We would be happy for anyone who knew Ali to come, not an exclusive event!!
We will be retiring to a suitable pub after the funeral, nothing formal.
Dress will be casual - DEFINITELY NO TIES!!!
Please no flowers, instead a collection for Devon Cave Rescue will be made on the day and people can send money to Walter Parsons as well.
If anyone wants to go and see Ali that is totally fine with us.
He's at
Walter Parsons Funeral Directors
The Firs
702 Budshed Rd
phone 01752 767676.
They just need an hours notice if anyone's coming.
Unfortunately I have no internet access so please call me on 01326 340 443 or 07774228117