From JOHN SIMPSON: David Wardell died suddenly on Monday 18th September 2006 of cancer of the pancreas. His death came as a great shock to me as I had no idea that he had been taken ill despite being in regularly contact with him. Apparently David first noticed that he had something wrong only in July. I had much contact with him in recent years with his photographic contributions to this web site. He will be greatly missed.
On Monday 25th September Lynne Gostick, Lorna Bryce, Prof (Richard) Doron and I attended the funeral which was held at St Nicholas Church, Wrea Green (nr Kirkham), Preston, Lancashire.
Although it was very sad to think that David had been taken far too young the service was a celebration of his life. There were touching and amusing tributes from his two sons Mark and Richard and also from neighbours. David had many good friends in the small village where he lived and was chief motivator and organiser for hikes, canal boat trips and street parties.
David leaves his wife Janet, two sons; Mark and Richard and a daughter Kim.
As you look through the web site David's photos are in the Photo Album - years 1965 -1969. Also he took photos at the 1992 and 2006 reunions and the Last Detention School Dinner. He is also responsible for the Ghosts folder and many of the pictures taken of the school buildings. ---------------------------- Fom PHIL PAYNE: When I arrived at LEGS into 4C, he was in 4B. We rapidly discovered common interests (shared with "Prof" Doron and "Screwy" Driver - his form master) in technology long before it carried that name. Prof Doron set off on a project to build an 8-track stereo tape recorder using this new "silicon" semiconductor and an industrial Ferrograph deck (incredibly advanced for a home project at the time - the deck cost as much as a small car) and Twaddle decided to make an electronic flashgun by building a xenon flash tube into an old Agfa slide box. I think he wound up with the first electronic flash I ever saw. Saturating static inverters. The maths was _awful_, but we managed to agree in the end. Today they're 3mm x 5mm on every digital camera. Anyone seen a flashbulb recently? His was a potato-masher shape with a vast battery. My speciality was long-range radio reception, spending every late evening listening to Stuart Henry on the Good Ship Comet (Radio Glasgow) in the Clyde Estuary with a tuned medium wave aerial and a Hallicrafter receiver. And sharing tapes - long thin things, remember? Sometimes it took me three or four gos to get a good copy of the latest Kinks hit and pass it round. Then two years studying physics and maths together, sharing the school load of lighting effects, sound effects, film projection, etc. If the "performing arts" were at it, one or both of us would be there supporting the technical stuff. How many evenings did that cost us? David and I were the first to "split the sodium line" in the darkroom at the back right of the physics lab using a school diffraction grating. 14,000 lines per inch comes to mind. For two years, if electricity or technology was involved at LEGS it was one, the other or both of us. And LOADS of other bits of incidental fun.
Ice skating? Hammering around Nottingham Ice Rink on Wednesday afternoons (provided you got to the sign-up form fast enough) right-foot-over-left like speed skaters on Stuburt Special hockey skates. I was a bit quicker, but not much. And I still have the skates. And I can still do it. Photography? I had a Miranda F SLR - a Nikon knockoff - and he used an Agfa Silette most of the time. I used to reload 35mm Tri-X that I got from the sister of a Derby School ex-pupil at Derby Co-op - David bought PAN-F from a chemist's in Long Eaton.
You very rarely met him in a state not ready for a grin. It wasn't a ready or spontaneous wit - it was a wit that was the result of a little prior thought. But a confident wit. The world is a poorer place. --------------------------------------- From STEPHEN FORD: I was very sorry to hear of David Wardell's death. I never knew him very well because I was in the year ahead of you both. Even so, David is one of the many names from your year who immediately conjure up a face in my mind's eye. My first thought when I read your e-mail was to have a look at the 1964 school photo and make sure I had remembered him correctly - I had. Most of us would still like to feel that we are the same youthful generation we were then. The idea that we are now older than most of our venerable teachers were at that time comes as a shock. Even so, the good book gives "three score years and ten" as the approximate average human lifespan, and it is particularly sorrowful to hear of a life cut short at, I guess, 56.
In addition to restoring a number of lapsed friendships, the LEGS Reunited website has also created a new brand of friendship which never really existed before, especially between browsers and contributors from adjacent years like ours whose, experiences and memories overlap to a large extent.
It is in that frame of mind that I sorrow at David's death. He is one of these new cyber-friends who has helped me to remember. His photographs represent a vast contribution to the website. Without ever really knowing him personally, I remember him distinctly, and he was part of that cheerful crowd who together made life at LEGS so enjoyable at the time. By his evocative photographs David has brought back something of those happy days. We and many others in our age bracket owe him a great debt for that, don't we?