Beach walk to celebrate the life of much-loved North Devon surfer

Known for his positivity - the hashtag #bemoreneil was started by locals after he died. Credit: Neil Molesworth

Family and friends of Woolacombe surfer Neil Molesworth - known as 'The Captain' - who died at sea will do a lighted walk in tribute to him.

His life will be celebrated by a group walk along the beach he loved. The 40-year-old was a popular surfer in Woolacombe where he lived and worked.

He died on Sunday 8 November after getting into difficulties whilst surfing.

Family and friends of Neil have set up a fundraising page to raise money for a memorial bench in the town. Credit: Neil Molesworth

A much loved member of the community - the hashtag #bemoreneil was started by locals in his memory after he died. He was known by friends and family as someone who spread peace and positivity wherever he went.

A Devon flag was also raised at half mast in the popular surfing resort as a mark of respect.

Neil grew up in Calstock, Cornwall with his brother, two sisters and parents. He had called Woolacombe home since moving there in his 20s.

He worked in The Captain's Table and then The Red Barn where he was known as 'The Captain' or 'El Capitano'.

On Sunday 8 November, police were called to Woolacombe beach by the coastguard with a report of concern for the welfare of a man who had reportedly got into difficulty in the water while surfing. He was declared dead at the scene.

More than £6,500 has been raised on a fundraising page to buy a memorial bench in Neil's name. Some of the proceeds will go to NHS and RNLI charities.

A local artist is also creating a painting for the much loved surfer, which the family hope will be hung in the Red Barn where he worked.

Neil's family said they take some solace from knowing he died doing something he loved.

The tribute walk will take place tomorrow (Saturday 5 December) from Woolacombe beach to Barracine beach. Social distancing and mask wearing will be essential.

People will also be surfing and getting in the sea in his honour, with organisers saying there will be strict social distancing measures in place across the large beach.

Organisers of the remembrance walk said: "You are all warmly invited to join us to honour and celebrate the life of Neil (The Captain), on December 5, starting at 3pm from Woolacombe beach to Barracaine beach.

"There will be a lit up walkway for everyone to walk along and remember the Captain and a big fireworks display at around 6pm.

"Please respect social distancing rules and there will be tables providing masks for everyone. If you loved Neil let's all together make sure we give him a proper send off.

"Bring anything to make a light - lamps, torches, sparklers, anything you can think of.

"Just as he lit up our lives we shall light up the sky."