Constantine Cornwall

David Burke (1936-2020)

It is with much sadness that we heard of the death of David today. Our thoughts are with Jane, Christopher, Irena, Jennifer and Nicola; Michael, Caroline, Jasmine and Louise.

David was a man of many parts and gave so freely of his time, knowledge and skills to the community. The Garden Society, History Society and Regatta Committee all appreciated his contributions as a member and treasurer, (a role he also undertook for the Save The Children branch). His own garden is testimony to his horticultural skills and will be a lasting memorial to him. When he and Jane arrived at Upalong the land was a mass of brambles, nettles and pittasporum, pathless and featureless. He tackled the whole with his usual vigour and it is now a feast of camellias, magnolias and azaleas. He was still planting his arboretum when he was taken ill and regretted not being able to complete it. His sturdy tractor was much used in the village, for the Regatta as well as in Pope’s Garden.

David was a mean card player, especially enjoying the more challenging games as well as evenings of rummy and whist with friends. He also enjoyed playing snooker every week with a group of pals. Friends and family were so important to him, especially his four granddaughters. Nothing pleased him more than to tell us all that they had celebrated Christmas in October, every year in a different part of the UK, with a large group of family members. This left him free at Christmas proper to wassail with village friends. Wassailing was not the only celebration he hosted; for many years 1st April was Sloe Gin evening, an event when fellow sloe gin makers met and sampled each others’ bottles. His love of real ale was indulged every year by visiting the Real Ale Festival, and he was partial to a drop of single malt.

He served as a member of the Port Navas Village Hall Management Committee from its inception, for many years being the Treasurer. He also coordinated the pitching and decoration of the Christmas tree, and insisted that we had flashing multi-coloured lights. His contribution to the summer barbecue was a huge steaming tray of fried onions, a real labour of love. His other thankless task was to oversee the maintenance of the troublesome septic tank. All this was carried out with efficiency and good humour, thank you, David.

I am sure there is more we could say.

David was a gentleman and we will miss him. 

David and Jane in their garden in 2006