Dalesman Singers Concert

17 May 2014

Our volunteer Richard is a member of the Dalesman Singers and has organised a concert by them in aid of SWR Mind and in memory of his cousin David.

The concert is taking place at Queen Street Methodist Central Hall in Scarborough on Saturday May 17th at 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. Tickets cost £5. Refreshments will be available and there will also be a raffle. Tickets are available on the door or you can contact us for a ticket 

In his own words, here's Richard's tribute to David.

My Cousin David

By Richard Atherton

David and I were part of the post-war baby boom. Muriel gave birth to David in April 1946 and her sister Kathleen gave birth to me three months later.

Although we lived in different places we saw each other quite a lot as we grew up and became like brothers. David was brighter than me and seemed destined for a top university. He was full of fun, giggling at this and that, and we played football, cricket and tennis together.

In his mid teens David began to struggle at school and got disappointing O Levels, and very poor A Levels. Strangely it was while he was staying with our family for a while in 1964 that he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, and so began nearly 50 years of suffering

 with mental illness before he died on 30th October last year.

Looking back on our lifetime friendship, it was a privilege to be with David through all his ups and downs. And there were plenty of ‘ups’, particularly in recent years when he lived in very good accommodation in Leamington, shared with two other men, with excellent support from the housing trust and the social services Assertive Outreach Team.

And there were hilarious moments, like when he travelled to Oxford on a whim, then found he had no money for a B & B. It was a warm summer’s night and as he passed a graveyard he saw a grave dug for the next day. So he lay in the grave, had a good night’s sleep and rose from the grave in the morning.

We would go for a coffee in Leamington and David would say ‘We can’t go there – I’m banned,’ because of some erratic behaviour. But he was never violent and some of the café owners were very affectionate towards him.

It was good to be with David in his ‘downs’ and realise how difficult life can be for those with mental health problems. We stayed in a hotel in Ilkley one weekend and David got very agitated, convinced that the folk in the next room had come from Leamington specifically to spy on him! But these moments were mercifully rare.

It took a long time for David and the right medication to come together but it did happen in his later years, and he was very grateful.

Death is always full of sorrow but I was so pleased to be with David on his last day, when he was being well cared for at Warwick Hospital and enjoyed listening to a Mozart piano concerto.

Thank you David. You were my best friend.