Nev Wilshire from the Call Centre has died

Date:

The Call Centre star Nev Wilshire has sadly died.

The businessman and entrepreneur, who wowed audiences in the hit BBC reality series, passed away on Saturday morning, sources close to him said.

The circumstances surrounding his death are not known.

But news of his passing has been met with an outpouring of sadness as well as love for the father-of-four – whose perenial optimism and larger-than-life character made him as much of a hit with TV viewers as it did friends and colleagues.

Friend and former colleague Hayley Pearce, who also starred on the Call Centre, posted a moving tribute on Twitter.

She wrote: “He was more than a boss to me. He was like family. The memories we made together are ones I will cherish and talk about for the rest of my life.

Former tea lady Hayley, who has since gone on to forge a successful media career, added: “I can’t thank him enough for believing in me. He changed my life. RIP. Truly gutted.”

Born in Pennard, Gower, in 1960, he started his career working for a builder’s merchant, before moving into sales. At the age of 24, he set up his own company, Central Heating Services, which turned over £4.8m at its peak before going under in 1996.

Nev became CEO of Save Britain Money in 2010, and it was in this role that he shot to fame in the BBC Three fly-on-the-wall documentary The Call Centre.

The series, which first aired in 2013, followed him and the 700 staff working at his call centre in the Swansea Enterprise Zone and saw the “natural showman” lead early-morning singalongs – including rousing renditions of The Killers’ Mr Brightside – as well as crack jokes and take on employees in arm wrestles.

Over three million people watched the first episode alone, while Nev’s unorthodox management style won him a legion of fans and drew comparisons between him and Ricky Gervais’ character from The Office, David Brent.

With the help of his team, he later attempted to set up a new call centre 4,000 miles away in India, as part of a six-part series called Nev’s Indian Call Centre.

Nev was also once a top Welsh League striker – playing for clubs including Pontardawe, Port Talbot and Carmarthen – but gave up his professional football dream to concentrate on sales.

He was also a die-hard Swansea City fan and earlier this year took part in a series of charity football matches for SellebritySoccer.

Among the events he took part recently included a fundraiser in memory tragic Swans fan Mitchell Powell, who died just aged 26.

As news of his death broke, scores of tributes flooded in for Nev.

Former colleague Lisa Jayne, who feartured on The Call Centre, posted on Facebook that Nev had heart of gold and she would never forget the support that he gave her.

She added: “When I was looking at pics to post (of him), every one I had was at a charity event.”

Close friend John Tancock also posted on the social media site: “Nev passed away this morning. Nev was an enormous character, he made an impact wherever he went.

“He was a Christian, he was a good man, he helped many people. Like all of us he had his sins and flaws but God has accepted him. Rest in peace my friend.”

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