Tragic death of Pendleton ‘gadget man’ Robin (43)

The late Roger Nelson with his Rialto Reliant Robin and his trophy.
The late Roger Nelson with his Rialto Reliant Robin and his trophy.

Tributes have been paid to popular family man Roger Nelson who has died aged 43.

The son of Roy and Susan Nelson, Roger, otherwise known as “Roger dodge” and “gadget man”, grew up on the family farm – Wymondhouses at Pendleton – alongside his older twin brothers Mark and John and his younger brother Peter.

After attending the village’s primary school, Roger went to Clitheroe Royal Grammar School and, in his early teens, often enjoyed helping out his late grandfather Frank, of Laneside Farm, Chatburn, when he showed his livestock at local agricultural shows.

After leaving school, as well as working at Wymondhouses, Roger became well known at other farms around the Ribble Valley working for Ben Phillip’s Waddington-based agricultural contractors business.

He later became a HGV driver with brief spells at Miles Fox Haulage and T&J Haulage before becoming a driver for Castle Cement. He worked there for around nine years before leaving to relocate with his wife Fiona and their sons Sam and Rob to County Tipperary, southern Ireland, where his brother Mark already lived.

A devoted family man, Roger, Fiona and the two boys, who while in Clitheroe lived on West View and Fairfield Drive, enjoyed Roger’s passion for racing, together travelling all over the country for weekend race meetings as far away as Dover and Belfast. They also enjoyed holidays in Ireland and the UK in the family’s camper van.

From a young age Roger’s passion for all things mechanical was evident and he would much rather drive his tractor than milk the cows, his mum Susan recalled.

His parents also regularly took Roger and his brothers stock car racing, an interest that would remain with Roger throughout his life. And it was from this hobby that he developed his passion for Reliant Robins winning in 2004 an international racing world final in his three-wheeler Rialto car at the Milden Hall Stadium at Suffolk.

And what better present could Roger ask for on his 40th birthday than his younger brother Peter organising for him to race a Reliant Robin at that very same stadium during a prearranged visit.

Over in Ireland his passion for motors and mechanics continued with Roger restoring a tractor, his pride and joy, which he enjoyed showing at agricultural shows across the country.

A gregarious and sociable character, Roger had many friends in the Ribble Valley and every year he flew home from Ireland to enjoy a skiing holiday with his friends – a holiday that he also often shared with his family.

Roger first became ill at the beginning of September last year and was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a rare and aggressive type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, only a few weeks later. Despite doing everything he could to fight the illness he died on January 2nd with his wife Fiona and his family by his bedside.

In keeping with Irish funeral tradition, people were invited to pay their respects to Roger’s family after his death with more than 200 people visiting the funeral parlour near his home.

A funeral will be held at All Saints Church, Pendleton, on Tuesday January 14th at 1 pm followed by burial at the church.

Afterwards, a celebration of Roger’s life will be held at Clitheroe Golf Club. Any donations in Roger’s memory can be made to the South Tipperary Hospice Home Care Team c/o John Nelson, Ash Lea, Whalley Road, Pendleton BB7 1PP.