Neil Dalton funeral: Memories, laughter and tears in emotional farewell

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IT was a tragedy that made headlines across the world. A promising medical student, with everything to live for, murdered.

At St Peter’s Church in Belper for his funeral, that was put aside. It was an opportunity for people to remember 22-year-old Neil Dalton.

Neil was a son, brother, friend, cricketer, footballer and dedicated medical student whose tragic and shocking death has touched the hearts of the community.

The trainee doctor was on a six-week attachment at a hospital in Borneo with his friend, Aidan Brunger.

They were both killed on the street in the town of Kuching on August 6 after a night-out.

The atmosphere was sombre throughout as the mourners packed into the church. Friends from Newcastle University, where Neil was studying, sat alongside friends from closer to home.

The Rev Anne Stratton, vicar at the church, conducted the service. She said the occasion was of mixed emotions.

She said: “The service went as well as it could be expected. In the tributes, a lot of good things were said.

“There was a lot of emotion at the service, but there was also a positive spin placed on it going forward.

“There was a bit of laughter and acknowledgements of the person they knew.

“The vast majority of the people at the service were in the 20s.”

The minister said a lot of the people at the service wrote memories of Neil which will be given to the family “when the dust has settled”.

Two of Neil’s friends gave eulogies about how they met him, and their favourite memories of him.

Neil, of Ambergate, was described as a motivated and driven man.

Members of Belper Amateurs Cricket Club and Belper United Football Club paid their respects. Neil was a talented sportsman in both fields.

Neil represented the cricket club from the age of 14, playing more than 100 times, and opening the batting at every level.

Before that, he played cricket for Ambergate.

The song, The Cave, by Mumford and Sons, was played at the service.

The minister said about 350 people had attended the funeral of Mr Brunger, a medical student and friend of Neil, who was laid to rest last Friday in Kent.

Mr Brunger was also 22, and came from Gillingham.

The trainee doctors were both on a six-week attachment at a hospital in Borneo when they were killed on the street in the town of Kuching on August 6 following a row in a bar.

Fishmonger Zulkipli Abdullah, aged 23, has been charged with their murders.

Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner’s Court has opened and adjourned an inquest into the deaths of both men.

Both students have been awarded posthumous honorary degrees by their university.