David’s wife Penny informed the school that David passed away in February 2014. She provided us with the following obituary.
David enjoyed a rather charmed childhood, growing up with his dear sister Ruth in the wonderful old Rectory at Holwell and then entering Magdalen College School as an impressionable chorister in 1941. After National Service he returned to study English at Pembroke.
I met him in the 70s, in Central Africa where he was on secondment as Copperbelt Manager for his insurance company. It was a good time for David – hard rewarding work but he also sailed, water skied, sang, rowed and was actively involved in the brilliant local theatres. He played wonderful roles in numerous productions (The Merchant of Venice, Murder in the Cathedral, Bach’s Magnificat, West Side Story). I remember he’d just finished in Richard II, and was about to play one of the G&S Gondoliers. (Rather typically, he played Richard again with equal flair 20 years later.) In Ndola I listened backstage in the men’s dressing room every evening. Recently he told me that a lady in the men’s dressing room was unheard of at the time and quite scandalous.
David rowed there in good company – a German International, a Blue and a Princess Elizabeth Cup winner. They rowed mainly on the Copperbelt Dams but once we camped on the banks of the Zambezi, and David won a sculling trophy just above Victoria Falls. It was low water – at high water the spray was impossible and anyway, it was probably dangerous. But he was not averse to danger and enjoyed challenges. He climbed Kilimanjaro in his 40s, completed a waterski slalom course in his 50s and once, when we were out for the day, he suddenly dived into a harbour without a thought and rescued a drowning man.
When we returned from Africa, David sang with the Brighton Festival Choir – Beethoven’s 9th in the Albert Hall with Dorati, and Verdi’s Requiem at the Festival Hall with Robert Tear and Kondrashin. He sang at his own funeral in fact. In Zambia he’d sung Mozart’s Requiem with a concert group in a little African church, accompanied by the only pipe organ in Central Africa. At his funeral we listened to the recording from 40 years ago, with David singing the bass solo Benedictus.
After we moved to Weybridge in 1975, David enjoyed company postings in Jamaica and Nigeria before ‘retiring’ at 50 and starting a cruiser hire business. An Engineering course soon had him stripping down engines and thus he was able to service the boats almost single handedly, which rather pleased him. He ran them from the end of the garden here on the Thames. For a break between boats, he would often jump into the river and swim half a mile down to a little cottage we had on an island there. And he’d swim back of course.
His death in February 2014 was unexpected. We’d married in 2013. On our lovely wedding day our friends joined in singing ‘We’ve Been Together Now for 40 years’. Of course, we had more than 40 years. But not enough. Not nearly enough, and he is so sadly missed. He was very fine.
David is survived by his wife Penny, and his sister, Ruth.