It is with sadness that we report the death at home, on December 20 2020, of Neil Pardoe after a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Maureen, a son, Richard, from a previous marriage, and seven godchildren.
Neil had formerly been Head of the Trading Standards Service for Cheshire County Council. He had joined Cheshire’s Weights and Measures Department (lead by Ken Nattrass) in October 1970, first serving in the Department’s Northwich Office. Neil was in Cheshire’s first tranche of graduate trainees – the appointment of whom would, in Ken Nattrass’s view, better prepare the Service for the challenges of all the new duties associated with the consumer boom of the early 70s and the transition to a comprehensive Trading Standards Service.
Neil qualified as a Weights and Measures Inspector in 1972 and immediately, as was the way then, became authorised to enforce the whole range of Trading Standards legislation. He was appointed to one of the enforcement divisions operating from the purpose-built Trading Standards Office at Backford Hall, near Chester. On local government reorganisation in 1974 Neil was appointed as one of two Special Investigators who had no routine inspection or sampling duties but were expected to “get their teeth into” complex investigations into malpractice and fraud.
Making a difference
When Ken Nattrass retired and was replaced by Roger Manley, further organisational and structural changes ensued. Neil was asked to lead a newly created Specialist Division based at Backford Hall which again would have no routine inspection and sampling responsibilities but would initiate project and support work across Special Investigations, Consumer Advice and Education, Consumer Credit, Animal Health, Metrology and Bulk Fuel.
After a stripping out of Deputy and Assistant Chief posts, Cheshire Councillors decided that they would really like to have a single point of contact when Roger Manley was unavailable, and Neil was asked to take on that role. He succeeded to the ‘Chief’s’ job when Roger was asked to take charge of the Planning Service and investigate allegations of misconduct and corruption.
Active in retirement
Neil retired from Cheshire County Council on May 31 2001 but did not become idle. Within six months he was appointed to the Standards Board for England, which was the independent mechanism and regulatory framework for compliance with the Code of Conduct in Public Office. In this role he sat as a lay member on tribunals hearing complaints about misconduct and abuse of position by elected Councillors.
When the Standards Board became part of the Ministry of Justice Court and Tribunals Service, Neil served as a lay member on the First Tier Tribunals, hearing allegations of misconduct in the areas of Consumer Credit and Estate Agents.
Neil continued the Cheshire tradition of active participation in National and Regional Trading Standards initiatives, and allowed/encouraged individual staff members to make their own significant contributions to the then Trading Standards Institute.
Away from work, Neil was a keen golfer, enjoyed long distance walking with Maureen, and was a lifelong fan of Crewe Alexandra Football Club through good times and bad.
His funeral was at St Anthony of Padua Church in Saltney, followed by a committal at Chester Crematorium and his ashes were subsequently interred in the Garden of Reflection at Overleigh, Chester. Family, friends and ex-colleagues look forward to “raising a glass” when circumstances permit.
Compiled with the help of Tony Collard and Jim Potts.
This obituary was amended on February 22, 2021.