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David Bathurst 1929 – 2010

1st of December 2010

David was born and bred in Scatterdells Lane, well almost. In fact, he had to be born in Hemel Hempstead hospital as Scatterdells lane had no electricity, gas or water supplies! Other than his RAF service and odd stints in digs from Monday to Friday ‘86’ or ‘88’ had always been his home. The young David was a useful little soul and hadn’t been to school by 7 years of age. After David’s aunts and the authorities intervened he was sent to Jordans College in Alexandra Road,and then got a Scholarship to Miss Cross’ school at Kings Langley Priory to become a ‘green boy’.
His father also had strange ideas about diet and so they were sort of vegetarians and David was very thin; malnourished according to his Aunt Mary.
All this changed when he joined the RAF for national service. Three hot meals a day and in six weeks he had outgrown his first uniform! It was the making of him and he loved it.
By the time he came back his father had gone and his mother was at home with his brother Peter who had had a nervous breakdown during his national service. David always cared for his mum and Peter and decided to plant Christmas trees on the nursery hoping that Peter might help to look after them and give them some income. David went to Letchworth training college to train as a draftsman and finally got some qualifications.
It was at this time that David got interested in scooters and rallying. In 1958 he won the Daily Mirror National Rally, being presented with his cup at a dinner at the Cafe Royal in London. David was sporting a rather fine waxed moustache at the time.
He then worked as a sub-contracted draftsman, often working on aircraft design and ultimately the tail fin of Concorde, but by the early seventies the work was drying up. David decided to try his luck as a salesman and started off as a BetterWare man going door to door. He was lucky enough to call on a manager of a Pearl Assurance office who offered him a job as an agent on the doorstep.
The Pearl job suited David to a tee. He could work odd hours and so look after the Christmas trees, his mum and Peter, and fit in home and away trips to watch Watford playing football.
Somewhere along the way he got married and divorced a couple of times! He also built, but did not finish, 86 Scatterdells lane.
He was living alone in one room of ‘86’ when one evening in June 1980 his life changed. Out walking through Scatterdells wood he met a “wizen” young woman in the middle of Stony Field. He had just seen a deer and stopped to talk. Over the next few summer evenings they walked together often and then at the start of the football season they realised that they were both Watford season ticket holders! There was a bit of a shock for both of them, David’s wizen 35 year old was in fact 25 and Wendy’s forty year old was 51!! It was too late by then and in November 1981 they were married.
When David’s mum became very ill they decided to build a new bungalow at ‘88’ with a granny annexe for mum and Peter. Although Dorothy didn’t live to see it she knew that Peter would be looked after. Just before the bungalow was finished David’s much longed for son came along. Life was hectic but very happy.
David was able to retire at 60 and they all set about making a garden, enjoying all sorts of sports, and of course the sights and sounds of nature. They travelled to the Alps and combined bird watching and beach trips on visits to Majorca. David and Wendy enjoyed watching John play football and cricket for his school, and loved the teas which came with it! They all had a great time.
David was aware that things in his brain were not right about four years ago and although things progressed quite slowly at first the last months have not been easy. But David did manage the first two matches of the season at Vicarage Road. During this difficult time friends and neighbours have been so kind and understanding and this is very much appreciated. David’s last three weeks were spent at Lambourne Grove, St Albans, where they hoped to treat his night time hallucinations. His deterioration was very sudden and he passed away peacefully on Friday 1 October with Wendy at his side.

This page is edited by Tony

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