18th May 1938 - 1st March 2011

“We have lost a giant presence” were the opening words of the eulogy delivered by Revd Gerald Steward at David’s funeral service. A big man physically, David also played a major role in the life of the parish of All Saints, Fourways Gardens, and the church was well-filled for the service held on March 8th.

David grew up in the Bilsdale district of North Yorkshire and always considered himself to be a Yorkshireman, although he was born across the border in Darlington. After school at Sedbergh he joined the family chemical company later to become Albright & Wilson, and it was there that he met his future wife Valerie – “an office romance” she says – and they were married in London in 1972. A chance encounter led to an offer of a job in Johannesburg and David, Val and their first daughter Zoë emigrated to South Africa in 1975. A second daughter, Rachel, was born in that country. The family worshipped at St. George’s, Parktown, during the period when the peal of bells were installed there and gave them their first exposure to the sound of bells.

After a short period working back in England, David and Val returned to South Africa for good in 2000, buying a house in the new suburb of Fourways Gardens. They joined the fledgling Parish of All Saints, services being held in a nearby school chapel until the church building was ready for use. David joined the PCC, where his experience as a company director was invaluable in matters of corporate governance and parish finances.

 A keen music lover, he organised numerous concerts in the church to raise funds and repay the loans used to build the church. He was responsible for building a Rectory in the church grounds, to the surprise of the incumbent, who was on sabbatical leave at the time! When the church received a suitable legacy, David pushed for the installation of a ring of bells in the then-vacant tower and received agreement from the PCC, provided that he sourced the funds from outside the parish. A light ring of six, tenor 2½ cwt, was duly funded and assembled from local and UK sources, and was dedicated in November 2008 during a service of thanksgiving to mark 10 years of the parish. David duly learned to ring at All Saints, and had reached the stage of mastering call changes at the time of his death, which came suddenly and unexpectedly whilst he was consulting on a project for the Institute of Directors.

The bells were rung half-muffled by members of the Transvaal Society for the funeral service, which was conducted by the Rev. Michael Oliphant, Rector of All Saints. A short eulogy was given by Brian Stacey, a member of the local band, on behalf of all the ringers. We extend our condolences to Val, Zoë, Rachel and their families.


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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers