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UK

09/04/2021

Neil McVitie, latterly the LS2 Helmets agent for Scotland and the North East, sadly passed away on the 10 March after a long illness. He was 74. Gavin McCaffery remembers his friend and former colleague "Mr. Arai." Neil had been in the motorcycle industry most of his working life, having previously been in the entertainment industry as a record plugger, working as far away as Australia. During a successful career, Neil had worked for Belstaff International, Phoenix Distribution and Lloyd Lifestyle, Lazer Helmets, On Two Wheels Distribution, and LS2 Helmets.

He was "Mr. Arai "in Scotland and Ireland for many years and was always a welcome and friendly face to his customers. His contribution to the Arai brand's success was significant, and for many years, Neil was a key member of the Arai Race Support Team at the I.O.M. TT. Races. His Knowledge of Scottish motorcycle racing was invaluable. On Neil's recommendations, the brand secured the likes of the then young Steve Hislop, Ian Duffas, Brian Morrison, and Jim Moody, to name a few, all went on to have successful racing careers.

When Neil came to work for me at Lloyd Lifestyle, we became friends and colleagues. That same Loyds sales team worked together in a few other companies in subsequent years until his retirement. We were like a little family, and Neil was a crucial part of our success.

He was old school and a consummate professional. I recall a dealer saying to me once that when Neil called and nothing was required, he always somehow left with an order! No pressure to buy, it just happened, and it was always a pleasant experience. 

Over the years, we travelled together around the country and Europe, attending many shows and events, usually sharing a room, and having long chats about everything. At one Motorcycle Expo show, I remember sitting in our underwear in our hotel room with coffee and biscuits, watching a darts match on the telly, and the sales guys calling us to say we were late for dinner. But we stayed till it was over and arrived 40 minutes late. 

Neil was a great raconteur, and we loved his stories about the record industry and how he once had a chance to join Radio Luxembourg, but turned it down as it would have taken him away from his family. We used to say he had an excellent voice for radio. 

Whether at home or abroad, time spent in Neil's company was a joy. I know I speak for many of his colleagues over the years when I say we were blessed to have him as a friend as well as a workmate. He loved the motorcycle industry, and he loved his bikes. We have lost a real gentleman, a beloved colleague, and a dear friend. He will be greatly missed by so many people in our Industry and leaves behind his wife Eve and six daughters.