Remembering David

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Above: White roses for Yorkshire and a pair of David’s crocs on the table in the Meeting House for David’s Memorial Meeting. This display was created by Liz Burrage who also led the Memorial Meeting. Many thanks to those who donated a total of £530 to Yorkshire Air Ambulance in David’s memory. 

My tribute to my husband, David Pointon,  at the Memorial Meeting at Bainbridge Quaker Meeting House on Saturday, July 13:

David passionately believed that anyone with a disability should be able to live life to the full and adventurously.

His former work colleagues recount with delight how he encouraged his blind and visually impaired students to climb trees – something that probably wouldn’t be allowed now du e to health and safety rules. But those kids learnt a lot about what they could achieve.

When his dog, Raq, became blind David gave him mobility lessons too. And I was taught how to be a good guide person.

David approached his own increasing mobility problems in the same way. An old severe spinal injury led to him being unable to put his own shoes and socks on. And then he found…Crocs! Out went the shoes and socks and in marched Crocs – and  joyful independence.

They meant he could still walk down the dyke at Thurne to his beloved Norfolk cruiser Edna May – his glorified shed on water, spiders and all. That meant he could fettle to his heart’s content – either in his garage cum workshop at Thornton Rust or when on the boat.

He could still participate in overseas adventures – either the overland drives to the Gambia or later with his mate Ken to Morocco and France. And David and I could enjoy our journeys exploring Britain.

Many have commented on how much they enjoyed David’s sense of humour.

Our relationship began 14 years ago with a good laugh – and continued with lots more. For me ours was a special relationship. We accepted each other warts and all – two odd people thoroughly enjoying life together and supporting each other in our various interests and activities. He was my soul mate and my best friend.

I have many wonderful and very happy memories. Thank you David.

…………

David was born in Sheffield during an air raid. He recounted that his mother refused to go into an air shelter but chose to stay on her own bed for the delivery. He and his older brother, Mike, played on bomb sites and went to local schools. While attending grammar school David was chosen to represent the North of England at a Scout Jamboree in North America in 1958.

He did a teacher training course at Alsager College specialising in Design, Technology, Art and Crafts and he never lost his love for those subjects. He then gained the appropriate qualification to teach blind and visually impaired children and took a job at a school in Sheffield where his pupils included David Blunkett.

He moved with his young family to Norfolk in 1974 to work at the East Anglian School (for the blind).  He trained as a teacher of the deaf, gained an Open University degree and served for four years as a councillor on Great Yarmouth Borough Council. He then moved to the Norfolk Sensory Support Service. It was while there that he was asked by Phil and Joan Feller to join them in a charity aimed at helping blind and visually impaired children in The Gambia.

The charity’s Gambian Representative, Lamin Saidy, wrote: “David… always wanted the best for people and he contributed immensely towards the development of education for the blind children. As part of his contribution to the school [for the blind in the Gambia] he provided teacher training service… he provided transportation for the students and teachers. His support towards blind education is still reflecting in our country and will forever be remembered.

“He was a very good friend and contributed immensely towards helping the needy and most especially supporting blind children.

“David is gone but will never be forgotten by me, my family and to every other person he interacted with in The Gambia.”

David  continued supporting the work in The Gambia after he retired and then moved to Wensleydale in 2001. In Wensleydale he became a trustee of the Kennel Field Trust at Thornton Rust, and later the parish councillor for Thornton Rust. He joined the Yoredale Art Club, the North East Mercedes Benz Club, and the Northallerton branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

Roger White of the Northallerton branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists commented: “David became a member in May 2006 when he passed his advanced driving test. As an observer he has helped more than 10 associates to pass their Advanced driving test.

“He took on the role of Chairman in January 2017 when the group was in crisis and was considered a poorly performing group. Under his leadership the group has gone from strength to strength and is now considered a high achieving group. His is a difficult act to follow.”

David also helped as a volunteer at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes. Besides painting and glass engraving he created the large Peace and Remembrance poppies which were fixed to the railings by the Bainbridge Meeting House each November from 2014. These remained on the railings throughout 2018 until the centenary of the end of the First World War. They became a significant landmark in Bainbridge.

His connection with the Quakers began in 2004. Early that year he was in a very dark place. Then one Sunday he walked into Bainbridge Quaker Meeting House and found The  Light and a peace which transformed his life. He meditated on and sought to follow the Quaker way as described in Advices and Queries. Just two examples:

“Bring the whole of your life under the ordering of the spirit of Christ. Are you open to the healing power of God’s love? Cherish that of God within you, so that this love may grow in you and guide you. Let your worship and your daily life enrich each other. Treasure your  experience of God, however it comes to you. Remember that Christianity is not a notion but a way.” [2]

“Try to live simply. A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength.” [41]

“Live adventurously. When choices arise, do you take the way that offers the fullest opportunity for the use of your gifts in the service of God and the community? Let your life speak.” [27]

David became a  close friend of John Warren through attending the Quaker meetings at Bainbridge and Countersett. Pip chose the following poem by John for David’s funeral. It was read by Allan Sharland who had been friends with David and his brother Mike since they were teenagers.

Over the hill the grey road climbs

And the wind blusters over the hill

Tumbling the trees

And the grey road winds

Where hedges curve in ragged lines

And cærulean blue the bright sky shines

Where the road climbs over the hill

And I will go where the grey road leads

With the wind in my face at the crest

Where the curling road goes down and on

To the far blue hills in the west

And birds in the wind

Wheel and cry

The great elms bend, and creak

And sign

And the road goes on

And so shall I

To those far blue hills in the west.

2 thoughts on “Remembering David

  1. The above is a very moving tribute to a Dalesman. ( Be it an Adopted one )
    Thank you for allowing me to share it.

  2. Thank you for those words about David, a unique person. Along with his many achievements David was President of Wensleydale Rotary Club for 2010/11 – David might say it wasn’t his apex achievement but he was good to be with there.

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