In January 2015, aged 31, Neil fell to his death on Joffre Peak, near Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada with his two friends Stephanie Grothe and Elena Cernicka. All three were competent and experienced climbers. He loved the mountains and climbing. He was a winter sports enthusiast with a spirit of adventure. Whilst he loved a challenge he also spent much time encouraging and instructing others with less experience than himself. Many people were led by Neil on their first outdoor climbs.
Neil (Bell, to many of his friends) was also an accomplished scientist with many published papers in his field, and his mentorship skills have been recognised by the Centre for Blood Research at the University of British Columbia, where he worked, with an annual mentorship award. The Bone Research Society has also paid tribute to him with an annual Neil Mackenzie Public Engagement Award. This bursary will fund a PhD student/postdoc. to lead an interactive session on their research with school students. The 2018 award was won by a student from Exeter who will be doing a public engagement activity in Southampton with school children to teach them about bones etc. http://boneresearchsociety.org/awards/
First and foremost Neil was a Scotsman. Born and brought up in the Highlands he never forgot his roots, and took every opportunity to tell his friends and acquaintances, wherever in the world he was, about his native Scotland.
We have set up The Neil Mackenzie Trust to keep his adventurous spirit alive in others, to help them to pursue adventure and acquire the skills required to adventure in the mountains, as safely as possible.
Between January and October 2015, before the registration of the Trust, considerable sums of money were raised in donations and contributions were made to the British Columbia Search and Rescue and £3,000 was donated to Mountain Bothies Association for them to kit out the new Camasunary Bothy, on the Isle of Skye. ( Latitude: 57.1898, longitude -6.1110) . The bothy, known as “Bell’s Bothy” to his friends, opened to the public in March 2016, and has been well used since.