A Linslade man who was missing for over six weeks and sparked a countywide search “brought the community back together” says his neighbour.
Following the news of Neil Devlin’s death last week his neighbour Glenn Haynes, alongside Jade Morgan who has run Neil’s Facebook page since he went missing, set up a Go Fund Me account to help pay for his funeral.
Since it was launched last Saturday a total of £1,385 has been raised by 148 generous people for the car park assistant at Leighton’s Morrisons - but the money just keeps coming in.
Glenn said: “The support that everyone has given, even people who didn’t know him, has brought my hopes back to the community because I had doubts after some of the abuse in the beginning, but it’s been incredible.
“It has been amazing and the only person we have to thank is Neil. He has brought this community back together, even on his last quest.
“In the first 24 hours we hit over the half way mark of £1000, which I just wasn’t expecting. We were originally thinking that everyone from Neil’s Facebook page could donate a pound, but people have been not only donating £5, but as much as £20, £35 and now a lady is saying she will pay £110 - it’s amazing.”
A candlelight vigil was held at Morrisons last Sunday night in memory of Neil, which saw 200 people attend and there now remains a shrine in a trolley bay outside the store.
Glenn, who said he had braced himself for the bad news that came on February 17, said: “The shrine is beautiful. I was there on the vigil night and the amount of flowers there truly was beautiful. Again, it shows the whole community has pulled together for Neil.
“He was quite a quiet, insecure person really, he didn’t have much confidence in himself so he would be so surprised at how much love has been shown, bless him.”
Glenn took in Neil’s cat Whiskers when Neil went missing on New Year’s Day and is pleased to let LBO readers know his cousin, Joanne Grimes of Town Bridge Mill, Leighton Road, Linslade, has given her a permanent home.
The money raised for Neil’s funeral will be given to his uncle living in Oxford and Glenn says any left over money will be donated to a cat sanctuary.