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Remembering my friend, Neil

By Leela Ramdeen, Chair, CCSJ & AMMR

My friend, Neil Macey, 82, died in London on August 14 of Covid-19. He will be cremated on  September 16 at City of London crematorium.

Neil grew up in Clifton Hill, East Dry River, the oldest child of six. His mother was Sylvia Slater and his father Ivan Macey. They lived in the house built by his grandfather, William Slater who migrated from St Vincent and was one of the first people to build on the hill.

His rich cultural heritage was a source of strength and pride, and music was his passion. On the hill, he was surrounded by music. His uncle, John Slater, was a pioneer of pan, founding the band City Symphony on the hill. His musical tastes were wide-ranging and eclectic.

Neil trained as an electrician in Trinidad. He migrated to the United Kingdom in 1962 and found work in an electronics factory assembling televisions. He was soon promoted and attended evening classes in order to qualify as a television electronics engineer, the job he held until his retirement.

He loved playing music and dancing. He became a DJ in his spare time. He had a long association with Notting Hill Carnival, first as a regular attender. Later, through his links with the Association of British Calypsonians, he became a carnival DJ, playing on the Carnival float for Yaa Asantewaa Arts & Carnival  Band and at the ABC stage in Powis Square, London.

He also sometimes acted as a judge for the annual Calypso competition and for the music on the road on Carnival Sunday and Monday. He was a member of Yaa Asantewaa’s  Masquerade band and more recently, Sunshine International Arts Masquerade band. He played sailor in both bands alongside his wife, Celia who usually played Midnight Robber.

Neil is survived by his wife, children Gary and Marcia, by his first wife, Pearl, a fellow Trinidadian, his stepdaughter Tanya, and his grandchildren Jazmin, Aylen and Oliver. After he separated, he met Celia, a local teacher. They had been together for 40 years and married in 1986.

May you rest in eternal peace, dear Neil.