There is no doubt about it – the older you get the faster the rate people you know die around you and reinforces the adage of making the most of each day as it could be your last. Today, I learned of the death of a friend and near neighbour, Dave Haycock. He was a nice but straight talking man and a helpful neighbour. I knew he was unwell but had expected him to recover and had accordingly planned to visit him next week along with my son. I mourn his loss.
I got to know Dave some 12 years or so ago but knew little of his past active life other than what I was told. We worked together setting up a local resident’s association and achieved some good. Given my son and his grandson were the same age, they often did things together, outings etc. Dave and his wife Yvonne were much involved, which was appreciated. In the past 1-2 years he was severely incapacitated due to health issues, which for the man of action he was, was particularly frustrating. He ended his days in a nursing home and finally in hospital (he died peacefully) and I was able to visit him and we enjoyed some great chats on many subjects.
Before that Dave was a builder and before that he served in the Navy. As a DIY man he was amazing and he did much of the work that was needed in improving his house and did so to great effect. What always struck me was his attention to detail and the quality of the work he did. His major contribution to the community, over a number of years, was organizing youth football, and this was monumental, setting up and organizing leagues and competitions, managing teams and mentoring the boys, trying to impress upon them not just the importance of football excellence but the sort of attitudes that would serve them well in life.
It was good to know you Dave and it was my privilege to count you as one of my friends.
Update 20/04/18: Yesterday we (my wife and I) attended Dave’s funeral at Southend Crematorium. There was a good turn out of those who like us were wanting to pay their respects. The service was short and simple, and without fuss and with a quiet dignity, just as he would have liked it. It was also not religious, for although he respected peoples’ religious beliefs I am not sure he had them himself. Much of the service was taken up by the officiator going over his life, especially his services to the community, in particular his contribution to youth football in the town. I hadn’t quite appreciated it but not only did he play a significant part in ensuring youth football was able to carry on, on a sound footing, but he also helped ensure one of its centres, Jones Memorial Ground, was preserved for posterity. It was also emphasized how he took care of the youth in his charge, especially from less well off families, and that he was a stickler that they played according to the rules and in the spirit of the game, respecting others. His methodical approach to life, a can do attitude, practical wisdom, attention to detail and pursuit of excellence are all part of the legacy he leaves. I close with the three appropriate musical items that were played: