BASINGSTOKE and Tadley bid farewell to a cherished member of its community, Nigel Pollard, a man whose kindness and dedication touched the lives of many.

Nigel excelled in his career as a driving instructor, while also leaving an indelible mark as a caring individual who selflessly gave to others.

He sadly passed away on December 28 at the age of 58.

Basingstoke Gazette: Nigel PollardNigel Pollard (Image: Contributed)

Described by his sister Karen Mansfield as a pillar of strength, Nigel's presence brought comfort and reassurance to those around him.

For eight years, Karen shared a home with Nigel, experiencing firsthand his boundless generosity and unfaltering support.

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“My brother was my rock," Karen said.

"Nigel was a gentle giant. He was a person who would rather give than take from people. He was very caring and very loyal.

"We lived in the same house for eight years. He was always there. Nothing was too small or too big for him and he was always willing to help people out."

"He was amazing and a carefree person. His passing was such a shock for all of us. It was just unexpected.”

Nigel was born in a tiny village named Liss just outside Petersfield. He moved to Basingstoke in the late 1990s and continued his driving lessons here.

However, his impact extended beyond his role as a driving instructor.

While he dedicated himself to teaching the residents of North Hants the art of driving safely, he also served as a part-time doorman at various venues.

He was a doorman at Liquid in Basingstoke, which closed in 2011, and at various private events.

His popularity was evident in the outpouring of grief and disbelief upon news of his unexpected passing.

Basingstoke Gazette: Nigel PollardNigel Pollard (Image: Contributed)

Karen, still reeling from the shock, remembers the warmth and love that surrounded Nigel, not just within the family but within the entire community.

Nigel's funeral, held on February 1 at the Basingstoke Crematorium, was a testament to the impact he had on countless lives.

Fellow driving instructors organised a touching procession, lining the road to honour their colleague and friend.

As the procession made its way through a corridor of learner driver cars, Karen and her family were deeply moved by this poignant display of solidarity and respect.

Basingstoke Gazette: Learner driver cars parked on either side of the road to Basingstoke crematorium as a respect to Nigel PollardLearner driver cars parked on either side of the road to Basingstoke crematorium as a respect to Nigel Pollard (Image: Newsquest)

Karen said: “That was amazing what the driving instructors did. It really touched the family. We walked through the learner driver's cars. It was just amazing.”

With a career spanning nearly three decades, Nigel's passion for teaching and road safety never waned.

As a Grade A Instructor with North Hants Driving School, he imparted invaluable knowledge and skills to generations of learners.

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With a background in military driving, including combat and VIP protection, he brought a wealth of expertise to his students, ensuring they were equipped to navigate any situation safely.

Beyond his professional achievements, Nigel was a devoted father to his two daughters and a cherished companion to his dogs, Willow and Thor.

In honour of Nigel's memory, donations have been made to Saint Sled Dog Rescue, reflecting his passion for animal welfare and his compassionate nature.