Merv Capewell (1947-2019)

We are deeply saddened to announce that we have lost our dear friend and amazing Marmot Tours guide, Merv Capewell.

Merv was extremely fit for his age (72) and until 8 weeks ago he was living life to the full. He could never sit still for long, so spent his time cycling, walking, bivvy-ing under the stars, exploring new places and chatting to his many friends (or indeed anyone who would listen).

Those who knew Merv will remember his love of life, his energy, warmth and humour.

Merv in his element – living life to the full

Merv has been part of the Marmot Tours family for the past 15 years. He was an exceptional guide but, more importantly, a wonderful friend. He leaves us with many happy memories and we will miss him enormously.

Goodbye dear friend

Should you wish to share your memories of Merv, please feel free to do so below.

Our thoughts are with Jane, Merv’s wife, and the rest of his family.

Merv kitted out ready to welcome cyclists on the Stelvio

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42 responses to “Merv Capewell (1947-2019)

  1. Only met Merv at the end of our Raid Pyrenees trip last year and did the transfer to Toulouse with him. Very lovely chap who made an instant impression. Sadly gone too soon but clearly lived life to the full as we should all strive to. Sincere condolences to family and friends

  2. Mervyn was a guided on the Raid Corsica which I rode in 2014, as my first Raid, and was a major influence in my returning with Marmot each year since. I always hoped to meet him again, but unfortunately not to be. He was always cheerful, & so helpful to a novice “Raider”. I am sure he will be sorely missed by all at Marmot. My thoughts and prayers are well, it has his family and friends.

  3. I met Merv on the Raid Corsica in 2014 and he was extremely helpful when I was hospitalised in Corsica following an accident. Merv was a fantastic, friendly, encouraging and supportive guy and I had hoped to meet him on future Marmot trips but our paths haven’t passed in the intervening years. He will be remembered fondly. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Merv.

  4. Deeply saddened by the passing away of Merv. My thoughts and love are with his family and friends, those particularly at Marmot Tours. RIP Merv

  5. What a sad day.
    Merv was the first Marmot guide I met when I first started guiding with Marmot. He picked me up from the airport at Beziers and drive me to the guide training in Pech. We instantly hit it off and I had the pleasure of guiding many trips with him. Since then we’ve had a family holiday at his and Jane’s gite in the Languedoc and my kids instantly fell in love with him. I was at his 70th birthday party and he lived life to the full. He will be sadly missed by many, but his enthusiasm for the outdoors and love of life meant he left a lasting impression on everyone he met.
    Keep on pedalling Merv in the great velodrome in the sky 😢

  6. So sad to hear this. Merv took such good care of us on Ventoux a couple of years ago, me in particular as I was unsure whether I could do the climb, and he was so supportive. A truly caring person who could also entertain with a good story or two! It is a privilege to have known him.

  7. So so sad – he was such a fun kind guy – he loved having banter with us Aussie’s and will be so missed.

  8. Thanks for posting this tribute. Merv was a friend of mine for 35 years. We climbed in the Alps together and the Himalayas and formed a close climbing partnership that spanned 20 years across the UK and beyond. Merv “retired” from rock climbing a number of years back but I’m privileged to have taken him up his last route earlier this summer, followed by a hungry bivi under the stars (I forgot the stove!!) that night. I have a lifetime of memories ranging from wild alpine sorties on the mountains above Chamonix, including a fancy dress ascent of Mont Blanc (!!), drives across Europe to get some skiing in last minute before the onset of spring, and wonderful afternoons and evenings on the rock in so many parts of the UK. In recent years his love was his bike, his home in the Pyrenees and his wonderful wife Jane. Sleep easy in your heavenly bivi and God bless. Your off belay now mate ….

  9. Oh Merv, You looked after us so brilliantly (Raid Alpine N-S) giving just the correct proportions of courage and caution, with
    four female riders in the he was an absolute star, discreet, instinctive and encouraging, we were so well supported, mechanically and emotionally. We would begin our climb up yet another Col, all the way wondering whose sports bra would have ‘pride of place’ on Merv’s ‘van airer’ as he’d always be drying our washing on the mountain peaks.
    Sending love and best wishes to his family and colleagues, he will be missed by many

  10. My absolute inspiration! My guide on my first 2 Marmot trips. He made me believe I could achieve anything. His sense of calm and his supreme control was an incredible balance. It’s so unfair to lose a man so fit and so young at heart.

  11. Merv was a true gentleman. He supported me on 3 raids, his attitude to life was infectious and he is attitude to life an inspiration to all. RIP Merv –

  12. Fond memories of my trip to the Alps and the encouragement and enthusiasm he showed to me. He will be sadly missed and my love and prayers to his family x

  13. So very sad to hear this sad news of Merv’s sudden illness and of his passing. I could not believe it when I saw this on FB. The world has lost a proper gentleman. Such a very kind and interesting man. May he RIP.

  14. Will be remembered for the great times we spent in the hills especially Scotland. Thanks for your company and friendship.

  15. Very sad to hear this news, I only met Merv once on a Raid Corsica a few years ago. He always had a smile on his face and was a pleasure to know. Gone far too early.

  16. We are so so sorry to hear of Merv’s passing. So sad for his family and many many friends. We loved Merv on our Marmot trips he was a one off just a lovely gentle man and so encouraging always. He will be missed a lot.

  17. Merv lived a full and, before becoming a tour guide, sometimes dangerous life. He was a one-off and he clearly left a huge and positive impression on all who met him. Wherever he is now you can bet it wont involve sitting on a couch in front of a TV! RIP Merv.

  18. I had the pleasure of 3 cycling trips with Merv. What a fantastic human being! What terrible news to hear of his passing. I’m thinking of his wife, Jane, daughter and grand-daughter and all the colleagues he touched with the Merv Magic. I was due to meet up with Merv for a week’s cycling in France at the end of September, so I’m really shocked at the news of his passing. Rest in Peace, your Marmot briefing talks were legendary.

  19. Such sad news about Merv passing away. He was a lovely chap and gave great support whilst I was in his company in the mountains. He will be a big loss to Marmot Tours.

  20. Merv was a guide on my first and several later Marmot trips. He was always helpful, thoughtful, calm, encouraging, and thoroughly professional. He was interesting and excellent company. I feel very privileged to have known him, he was absolutely inspirational. Sincere condolences to all his family, friends and work colleagues.

  21. Led me on two raids with the bmcc cycling club. He found out that my favourite recovery drink was and still is, milk. I can take you to the exact spot near selva Gardena where he pulled out a litre bottle of milk at the end of a very long day in the saddle. So thoughtful, so cheerful, so too early to move on.

  22. Merv was a guide on both my Marmot tours and a more helpful, genuine or likeable guy you could not wish to meet. Absolute salt of the earth and I am deeply saddened by this news. Thanks for some treasured memories Merv and rest in peace my friend.

  23. So sorry to hear this awfully sad news. Merv looked after us on our Raid Dolomites trip in 2015. Nothing was too much trouble for him to make sure we all enjoyed our experience. A great guy who will be missed by everyone who ever met him.

  24. Truly shocked and saddened. Met Merv on the classic Alpine Cols 2017 and his warmth and professionalism was instrumental in me returning the following year. A real gentleman who will be sadly missed.

  25. Very sad to read this news. I had the joy of meeting Merv during the Raid Pyrenean in 2014 and Corsica ride in 2017. He was always wonderfully well prepared, relentlessly helpful and great company. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
    Kindest thoughts to all his family.

  26. The most tremendous loss. Merv took me under his wing when we worked together in Corsica. He was incredibly hard working, energetic and yet relaxed and keen to find any opportunity for mischief and fun. I liked him so very much from the minute I met him and he will be greatly missed.

  27. Merv made an immediate and positive impression when I met him in Corsica, funny, kind and caring. Merv persuading one of our friends (who was not looking well) to climb into the van, when we had failed in our efforts illustrates his compassion and skills. My thoughts are with Merv’s family and his friends.

  28. Such sad news. The pleasure was mine meeting Merv during the Classic Cols of the Dolomites Trip in 2016. A true gent. My deepest sympathies to all who mourn the loss of Merv. R. I.P.

  29. Merv was an utterly gorgeous, amazing, wise man. Not only was he a truly wonderful friend, he was my mentor and a huge support to me on my journey to becoming a Marmot Guide. I couldn’t have done it without him and for that I am eternally grateful. Thank you so much Merv. He always spoke so fondly of his job with Marmot and his passion and love for guiding and outdoors was always so evident and something I looked up to. I will miss him desperately but his fun and enthusiastic spirit will live on in hearts and memories.

  30. So sad to hear this news. I met Merv in Sept 1990 on an MLTB Course in the UK. I was very young and was looked after by the others in the course. I have watched as they’ve gone on to do exciting and amazing things. Not being able to do much myself…as the time has passed I have been encouraged and inspired and impressed by the adventures and achievements of others. Merv was amongst this band…always with a sunny smile and encouragement. Sending love to all his family and all others that knew and cards about him.

  31. This has come as a bit of a shock, I never dreamed Merv was 70+, he was so energetic and full of enthusiasm for life itself!
    I first met this man at the Raid Alpine S-N in 2014, he was the lead guide and his gentle manner and consistent praise helped the entire group achieve their goals. He also was my lead (along with the sadly departed Pedro-another lovely guy!) on the 2017 Classic Cols of the Dolomites and again I admired his charismatic way with people. Even after all the years, he had driven over the Mountains with all sorts of hassles and people issues he told me he just loved the job and would want to do nothing else – what a brilliant people person he truly was.
    I knew he served with the Lake District Mountain Rescue Team for years but after a wee bit research I found out he was also a Police Inspector, this didn’t surprise me as he certainly had a knack for dealing with people and he certainly had a regimented way about him – super organised! What a bloody shame he has died, as I said at the beginning – he lived for life itself! Everyone who knew this man will be deeply saddened – he certainly made an impact on me.

  32. I can only echo what some of the 36 others have already said, that Merv made a huge impression on me as a guide and as a human being, and I am so sorry to learn he won’t have another 30 years to live the life he clearly loved so much.

  33. I met Merv in 2016 on my first Marmot trip in Corsica and was deeply impressed when I heard him speak during the introduction and the first briefing. I vividly remember being stunned by his charisma and great personality and have hardly ever been that sad learning somebody has left us I know so little.

  34. Merv was simply in a different league. I met him on the Ventoux & Verden Gorge trip – only one trip and yet he left an indelible impression as though I had know him all my life. He seems to have been a great explorer/ cyclist/ walker etc, but I cant think of a better accolade than to say he gave an instant and lasting impressions of being a thoughtful, warm and decent man – the sort of person with would you could relax knowing that he had your back.

  35. What a shock to read the very sad news that Merv has died. He was indeed a lovely, inspirational man. I met him on my one and only Marmot trip in 2015 on the Raid Alpine. He couldn’t have been more helpful and encouraging. My sincere heartfelt condolences to all his friends and family.

  36. An awesome person, I had the pleasure to run his last trip with Marmot and I will never forget what he taught me: “a job is worth it if you laugh every hour”, and with him was priceless!!!!

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