Dr David Neden: a tribute to a CPRE champion

Dr David Neden fought tirelessly for Pegwell Bay and the surrounding area

Dr David Neden, once one of the most active members of the Thanet district group of CPRE Kent and a co-founder of the Pegwell & District Association, has died.
His passing, on Friday, July 20, means east Kent bids farewell to one of the most passionate and determined campaigners for the natural environment in our area.
Dr Neden was born in Carshalton (then Surrey, now London) in January 1929 and went to school in nearby Sutton, gaining Higher Certificates in zoology, botany, physics and chemistry before heading to University College London and then University College Hospital medical school.
Eighteen months of house jobs at medical school preceded two years’ National Service, from 1954-55, which he saw out as a doctor in the Royal Navy.
Two more hospital jobs followed before Dr Neden became a general practice trainee in Middlesex. Just a few months later, however, in late 1957, he took a job as a GP at the Grange Road surgery in Ramsgate, where he was to stay until retirement in 2005.
Moving with him to Thanet was wife Irene, the pair having married during Dr Neden’s spell in Middlesex; they had met during his time at medical school.
Settled happily in Ramsgate, the couple brought up their children Sarah, John (himself a GP in Ramsgate today) and Andrew.
Although his last home was in Grange Road, Dr Neden had lived for many years on the West Cliff with Irene, who passed away in 2009.
Dr Neden had enjoyed a strong Christian faith since his school days and was a regular at Christ Church Ramsgate and a trustee of the Sailors Church by the harbour.
Moving to Thanet sparked an interest in the natural environment and this formed the bedrock of his involvement in the creation of the Pegwell & District Association in April 1987.
This had been prompted by a London developer’s plans to run a railway line through the Pegwell cliffs, along the West Cliff foreshore to Ramsgate harbour.
The battle against the scheme was won, although eventually, after further proposals and public inquiries, a publicly-funded tunnel and road to the harbour were built.
Reflecting many years later on the outcome, Dr Neden had said: “The amazing irony was that the very day the road opened, the ferry company Sally, which was operating out of Ramsgate, went bust.”
He also drew a typically positive outcome from what had happened: “The tunnel, I suppose, was the best of a bad job.”
Both Dr Neden (he only stepped down from the committee last year) and Irene carried on their work for the Pegwell association, while they were active members of the Thanet district group of CPRE Kent.
The Pegwell association flourished to the point that at one time it had some 230 members on board, with a healthy social scene that included parties and a range of outings to places outside the area.
Asked what he considered to be the association’s greatest achievement, Dr Neden had said: “We added to the opposition to unseemly development and have continued to be alert. And we have made friends out of it.”

  • Dr David Arthur John Neden died on Friday, July 20, 2018. He leaves daughter Sarah and sons John and Andrew. There will be a thanksgiving service at 11am on Thursday, August 30, at Christ Church Ramsgate. It is asked that donations in lieu of flowers go to Pilgrims Hospices c/o HR Palmer, Funeral Directors, 30 Hardres Street, Ramsgate CT11 8QF.