19/2/1927 - 23/8/2011
Soon after Neville arrived from Britain he joined the South African Air Force, where in Pretoria he met his wife Anne. Neville's career in the forces as a radio/radar technician spanned some 38 years that included a period in Korea. En route he stopped over in Japan where he was introduced to his other great interest, that of Bonsai.
In the late 1950's Neville was transferred to Cape Town and became involved with Shackleton aeroplanes and in 1982 when the SAAF retired the Shackletons, Neville decided it was also time for him to call it a day. Stress and heavy responsibilities had taken their toll; he started suffering from angina. Contrary to expectation, the relaxation of retirement confused his system and in 1983 Neville had to undergo triple bypass surgery.
Neville loved people and it was this love of people that one evening, made Anne propose Neville for the committee at a meeting for parents of the Sea Scouts; and this without his knowledge. They lived in Fish Hoek and their sons were members of the Sea Scout Troop. He soon got stuck in and his commitment to the Sea Scouts speaks for itself.
He had a vision to build a yacht for the Scouts. He had a hull donated by Bellville Rotary and for the next 7 years worked constantly on it. The yacht was launched in 1994 and for which he was awarded the “Silver Springbok” by the SA Scout Association. The Yacht has been to Rio in 2000 and to St Helena 4 times.
Neville enjoyed woodwork and fibre-glassing which he first learnt about when he and Nick van Gysen decided to build Saldanha’s for the Sea Scout Base, building about 14 in all. Even the Cederberg Adventures' fibreglass Indian Canoes and Kayaks where jointly built by Neville and Colin Inglis.
He was instrumental in the building of the Sea Scout Base and the base has a lasting memory to Neville in having named the hall the 'Neville Coxon Hall'. He started the Kontiki Competition, and the Overall Competition Winner is awarded the Neville Coxon Trophy.
Aware of the importance of having Seamanship skills he set up various courses for training Sea Scouts and for many years was part of Area Training team. These skills were then put to the test in the Seamanship Competition he initiated.
Neville lived a full life and if summed up one would say 'A man who loved to give of himself'. The Scout Movement and many thousand Scouts have benefitted from his vision and his joy of being able to give. One could see the joy in him as he watched the Scouts sailing or enjoying what he had created for them. He was a unique man who has left a great legacy. Go in peace Neville you deserve it.
2012 Western Cape Scout Heritage Centre