New memorial unveiled at Bago Tavern to remember Andy Neal

He would love it: The Bago Tavern recently opened the Andy Neal Precinct. Celebrating the milestone are, Bago Tavern's Peter Bugden with Liane, Robyn, Kellie and Andy Neal.

He would love it: The Bago Tavern recently opened the Andy Neal Precinct. Celebrating the milestone are, Bago Tavern's Peter Bugden with Liane, Robyn, Kellie and Andy Neal.

He was a man of the people, a Rotarian of note, football administrator and Wauchope RSL Club director along with running a successful business.

Andy Neal was also a fierce advocate for Wauchope.

When he passed away in 2018 at Wauchope District Memorial Hospital aged 78 years, time, as they say, stood still.

Wherever Andy went, boisterous conversation - and several beers - inevitably flowed.

On Sunday that part of his life was further enhanced with the naming and unveiling of the Andy Neal Precinct at the Bago Tavern.

It is a fitting tribute. Andy would have loved it.

Peter Bugden said about 40 people attended the event, which was held, fittingly, on Andy's birthday.

"I thought it was appropriate to hold the event on his birthday," he said.

"It was a really happy day with plenty of fun and friendship. But I have to admit, there were also a few tears shed on the day.

It was a really happy day with plenty of fun and friendship. But I have to admit, there were also a few tears shed on the day.

Peter Bugden

"I am really pleased that the Andy Neal Precinct is now officially open," he said.

His great mate Paul Jones, in his tribute published in the Gazette in 2018 said this:

"Andy was a great Rotarian. One of the service clubs greatest successes. A Paul Harris Fellow and a former president, Andy held a record unlikely to be reached by many others, that of 50 years of perfect attendance.

"At the Wauchope RSL, he helped guide it to the success it became as a member-elected Director for 17 successive years, his tireless devotion to duty culminating when Life Membership was bestowed upon him.

"In the rugby league fraternity, he played for the Blues, arriving here as a Souths junior. He turned his attention to administration and rose to become president of the Blues club. He turned his attention to the welfare of junior players and was a co-founder and former president of the junior rugby league club.

"Another of his caps in the greatest game of all was his lengthy time spent as a manager of Under 18 teams at Group 3 and North Coast levels. He held Life Membership awards in each of these organisations."

Andy, who arrived in Wauchope and set up a plumber business, was also extremely proud of the number of young locals that he took on as apprentices.

He was a successful businessman, eventually expanding out of Wauchope and across the mountains.

And he used his trade to effectively make a point too.

If he ever felt he wasn't gaining an upper hand in a 'discussion' with his mates over a beer he would usually quip: 'All right, what would I know? I am just a plumber'.

Andy would have loved the memorial unveiled, if only to enjoy a beer and a conversation nearing on an argument about some point or other.

Andy Neal, businessman and community activist.

Andy Neal, businessman and community activist.