My second-to-longest pal
26 August 1964 - 21 September 2018

I met David in 1986 opposite The Lesley Arms at the corner of Cherry Orchard Road with Morland Road. At the time it seemed like just another anonymous meet but as the weeks went on we stayed in touch with one another and I visited him lots at his place. In those days he was working as a nurse at the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham and had living quarters in the nurses home. We'd spend many a night in each other's company!

David had always been a calming influence in my life with his laid back, happy-go-lucky approach to life's troubles and it had, at times, been therapeutic and a lesson to me that some things in life are bad, they can really make you sad, other things just make you swear and curse.... etc!


Some years passed by and David and I seemed to have gone our separate ways but one warm summer's day, 13th August 1998 to be precise, David was volunteering at The Ace Project in Mitcham, a drop in centre for those living with and/or affected by HIV/AIDS in South London. It was excellent to see him again because it had been nine years. We made a great deal more effort to stay in touch... and did, almost daily.

David and I always had a passion for karaoke and it was mainly at the Horse and Jockey (that later became the Goose and Carrot) in Croydon. It was to further our relationship and we very quickly became karaoke pals too. David had many songs to his karaoke repartee including: My Way, Love Is In The Air, Strangers In The Night, Let Your Love Flow, Concrete and Clay, Mandy, Mack The Knife and many more. We duetted with Reunited, Young At Heart and Don't Go Breaking My Heart amongst others. We also karaoke'ed together at a Christmas party at the Courtyard Clinic, St. George's Hospital.

Another passion David and I have shared over the years is quoting comedic lines at one another and leaving others wondering what we're on about. Lines from Fawlty Towers and Dad's Army in particular. During our everyday conversations the following lines would slip in: "Which way to the beach?" (Mrs Slocum from the movie of Are You Being Served), "Do they really?" (Sybil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers), "Hello, Fawlty Titties" (Basil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers), "Do you know, Wilson. I sometimes think I'm in charge of a pack of idiots" (Captain Mainwaring, Dad's Army). "Say goodnight to the folks, Gracie" (Basil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers).

David was the one person in my life who was able to provide answers to the most bizarre of questions, like: where does the phrase "I'll go to the foot of our stairs" come from? He knew the answer. He had an incredible knowledge and instant recall with any movie and lines from them too. He knew who starred in what and what else they appeared in. He had a great memory for all music, artists and of all generes too.


And so to today, 21 September 2018 - the day my pal died. I know we had many conversations about this day and my reluctancy to talk more about it was because I didn't want it to happen... I needed you in my life... I still do!

I loved you like a brother. Bye ole pal!


His friend, Ray, was instrumental in not only looking after David in his remaining months but also, was still there after David's passing. With David's Mum recovering from open-heart surgery and living in Cornwall, it was left to Ray to sort through his belongings and deal with the administrative tasks associated with a death. On the very day of David passing away, Ray himself collapsed. I'm quite sure exhaustion played a part but he soldiered on.


On Wednesday 26 September 2018, I went to David's flat, probably for the last time. I met with Ray and he was thoughtful in asking if I wanted anything. I didn't and yet I did... but only a small token of something belonging to David. I settled for a small chain with the Star of David emblem on one small disc and another spiritual symbol on another connecting disc. I absolutely love it and will keep it with David (Wallis's) ring on a gold chain that I have and wear frequently.


Along with some photos that I borrowed, in order to take scanned copies, I borrowed a book that David was collecting poems and quotations in. The opening of the book states: Within these pages are poems, quotes, cartoons and so on. They are collected from many sources and I like them. Signed by David and dated 21 July 1997.


The rest of the book is transcribed below:


Love many, trust a few,
But always paddle your own canoe
(Kevin Oggs Mother, 1973)

All you need is love (The Beatles)

As above, so below, but in a different manner. (Anon)

In your mind, you have abilities you know
To transmit thought and energies through the vast unknown
You close your eyes and concentrate
(The Carpenters)

If you aim at nothing
You'll get it every time

There is no strength where there is no struggle (Anon)

There is an order of things in this universe (Star Trek episode: Who Mourns For Adonis)

The sooner our happiness together begins, the longer it will last (Star Trek episode: The Paradise Syndrome)

I cross the void beyond my mind
The empty space that circles time
I search where others stumble blind
Eternal wisdom is my guide
I am the Doctor
(from the Dr. Who song)

Feck, arse, drink! (Father Jack from the TV show Father Ted)

When you decide, the child follows (Anon)

I was angry with my friend
I told my wraith, my wraith did end
I was angry with my foe
I told it not, my wraith did grow

And I watered in fears
Night and morning with my tears
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles

And it grew both day and night
Til it bore an apple bright
And my foe beheld it shine
And he knew that it was mine

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree

(William Blake)

As you increase - all increase
As you fall - all fall
We are all a part of one another
Each of us, every one of us
Reflects the whole

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night
But oh, my foes, and oh my friends
It gives a lovely light
(Edna St. Vincent Millay)

If you're not pulling your weight
You're pushing your luck

Every time I pass a church
I pay a little visit
So when at last I'm carried in
The Lord won't say: "Who is it?"

We are all responsible
Each of us accountable
All the time we act as we know how
But as we grow we can act better

Eat well, sleep deep
For tomorrow comes and it's all yours

A thing of importance, it is only important if you treat it so (Mr Spock from Star Trek)

Aliens are people too (Anon)

And now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Four corners to my bed
Four angels around my head
One to watch, one to pray
And two carry my soul to play

I think that everything that happens to us is our fault... but that's not our fault (The Naked Civil Servant)

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us
We ask ourselves: "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?"
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God
Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people around you won't feel insecure
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us: it's in everyone
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same
As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others
(Nelson Mandela)

Tributes For David


This tribute was written and read out by Rachel Webb. It's called Goodbye My Friend:

I first met David in 1987 and despite actually only briefly living in the same place, we always stayed in touch. Obviously, back then we had no mobiles to text or Facebook to stay connected so often we would write letters to each other and I remember the joy of both giving and receiving them. David was a great writer and his handwriting was really beautiful. It would always brighten my day when the postman brought one of his letters. So I have written this one last letter to read today as a way to say goodbye to my old friend.

Dear David,
You have slipped away into the next place and death, the great mystery, it is revealed to you. I take comfort from knowing you are healed in the light. And I see you there with the people you love who had already passed over. I feel you near me and I hear your voice saying: "Oh Rachel, don't be so sad." And I know one day we will be reunited in spirit... and by the way, it will be really great if you can put the kettle on and get some biscuits in, easy on the sugar though!

So many things we shared have become intrinsic parts of me that I don't really know who I would be if we hadn't have met. And I wonder who I will be now you are gone. It felt like the whole world changed when you left it because you had such a profound positive impact on me and so many other people, I hope you know that. Your energy was so special and I feel blessed to have been lucky enough to share time with you.

I will definitely remember you and smile. That wicked sense of humour you had and all the laughs we shared can still make me laugh out loud and I am prone to burst into spontaneous bouts of laughter when a memory of you pops into my head... it's priceless, thank you.

You were never a judgemental friend, you were reliable and loyal and although we have both had plenty of ups and downs over the years, we never had a moment when our friendship was in question. I knew I could rely on you and turn to you no matter what and you would stand by me and usually have some wise words on the subject.

You had so many talents I could never list them all, masseuse, singer, magician, healer, medium to name a few and you were a wonderful teacher because you can take a baffling concept like the quantum universe theory or meaning of time and break it down into bite sized pieces so even a numpty like me could understand it. I will never forget those nights spent stargazing with you, David.

Thanks to you I can stand here today and have the confidence to speak. You brought out my voice and you taught me to be myself, no matter what. You gave me a reason to value and trust myself, to express myself without fear and to realise my own potential, like nobody else ever did. You make me who I am, David and I will love you for that, forever. Really, there's no greater gift any one person can give to another.

So now it's time to sign off, David, my amazing friend. Let's return your body to the earth and your spirit to the sky. We say merry meet, merry part and merry meet again and I know I will see you in another lifetime,

Love Rachel.



This tribute was written and read by Wayne. It's called A Tribute To A Friend:

"Err-burr-burr!" If anyone is familiar with that sound, then let me jog your memory… it was something that Victoria Wood did, into a microphone that was sitting on a piano on stage in An Audience With Victoria Wood, 1988… and David would’ve known that.
Mainly because it’s something he did on more than one occasion when I was at karaoke with him. It would be his turn next up on stage and if he made eye contact with me, would just ‘er-burr-burr’ through the mic, knowing that I would find it very funny, but funnier still, for him, was knowing that not everyone else was getting it.

May I also start by asking that if anyone finds anything I have to say remotely funny, please don’t titter quietly, but instead roar with exaggerated laughter… we don’t you know that well, and we’ll just assume it’s your normal laugh…but more importantly, it’s also what David would’ve wanted. But even more importantly, it makes me look funnier than I am.

After I had written my tribute to one of the most colourful friends of all time, I read it several times, alone in my room, then remembered that Mary, Brian and other members of David’s family were going to be present when it came to reading it out aloud… so I painstakingly, and with dutiful respect, edited out all of that colour and was left with this…

“…but apart from all of that, he was also a thoroughly decent chap!”

I could not stand here today to talk about our dear friend, David… without first highlighting the astonishing dedication of care that Ray has shown him. We cried together on the phone talking about David, and I remember you remarked that you felt indebted to him because he had stood by you when you needed a friend. Well, Ray… I, and those of us here today that love David… are indebted to you. Your loyalty as a friend is like none I have ever seen in my lifetime. You’ve been there for him throughout, making his life comfortable - when he was well… building shelves and decorating his flat, then when he began to be poorly, ensuring that there was ‘round the clock’ nursing care so that he could be back at home, in his remaining weeks, just as he’d wanted and had asked for. You’ve somehow juggled working full-time nights and then taking over from the night staff that were caring for David. Your friendship continued after he left us, with you managing all the duties that go with dealing with a death, including us all being here together today.
But Ray, you can take a break now, it’s that time you’ve been waiting for, and you deserve it! You have been, and continue to be, incredible! I love you for all that you have been in David’s life… and then again, after! You don’t know it, but you’ve been there for me, too! Thank you.

I met David in 1986, Cherry Orchard Road, Croydon on a quiet, yet busy evening. He cocked an eye at me, I cocked an eye at him, and there we both stood, cock-eyed.
Over the decades of knowing my second-longest friend in my life, I learned a lot from him… mainly how alike we both were… stubborn, opinionated, grumpy old gits!
I couldn’t keep up with David’s knowledge of movies from old to new, but I’d like to think I gave him a run for his money with quoting lines from classic TV comedy shows from the 70s and 80s… the likes of Are You Being Served? Dad’s Army, Only Fools And Horses, Fawlty Towers and Hi-De-Hi… I deliberately left a pause there in case someone wanted to shout Ho-De-Ho. But, aside from lines from Fawlty Towers, it was a sketch from The Two Ronnies that kept us laughing out loud at least once in every FaceTime or phone call. And we’d do it more with each other, the older and more forgetful we’d get. The idea is that one of us would start a sentence, usually just one word, then hesitate while our brains caught up with want we wanted to say… sentences that typically started with “I’m…” and it was up to the other person to cut in to finish the line with a song title… I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, I’m Stoned In Love With You, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair… What? That sort of thing.
David’s knowledge of everything was pretty amazing. By way of example, if I couldn’t find the answer to something by googling it, my next port of call was to ask David. He had instant answers for: where does ‘I’ll go to the foot of our stairs!’ come from, and ‘Why do we call it red cabbage when it’s clearly purple?’

I’m not saying David was fussy or particular, but when he came round, he’d have a Dulux colour chart ready for when I made him a cup of tea! He said he liked grapes, but not the red ones... or the green ones. It was amazing that he ate anything at all, with how much he didn’t like… I’d often ask if he’d tried a new chocolate bar and inevitably, he wouldn’t have done because he doesn't like crunchy textures, or smooth ones, or coconut, raisins, or plain chocolate… or milk or white, peanuts are ok but not in a chocolate bar. He’d be the same with savoury foods too… “I don’t like potatoes unless they’re Aunt Bessie’s.” He was the only person I knew who quite liked eggs, except for the yellow bit and the white bit!

Well, that’s it, my ole pal… you were the last of the original gang. My duetting karaoke buddy for years, the Kiki Dee to my Elton John, the Ronata to my Renee, Orville to my Keith Harris. I guess I’m going to have to get by without you now… the phrases and the one-liners that have kept us laughing through the decades… Oh, I’ll still say them, if only in tribute to you… I just won’t get the laughter afterwards any more. I can actually hear him right now saying: ‘you never did.’
I’ll leave you with my favourite line of David’s… he created this line and said it first, and it became the classic catchphrase I still use today… during one of many of our FaceTime calls, after a quick exchange of put downs and insults to one another, I remarked: “You’ll be sorry when I’m gone,” without hesitation he replied: “I’m sorry now!” - Well, ain’t that uncanny, David… it’s me that’s sorry now!




David's Doodles