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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 100 - October 2008
David Charles Wharton (Dave) 1934 - 2008
A tribute to Dave by Eric Miller. Dave and his wife Doreen were Quainton members for many years. In the early years they were involved with Dusty in support of 6989 and 7200.
Dave was born on 25th December 1934 with his twin sister. It was a special day for a special person. He was apprenticed as a carpenter, but on joining the Army he became a cook; until in Cyprus they were short of carpenters and asked for volunteers. Dave volunteered and was made a butcher! Shades of "can you play the piano?" - "Yes sir!" "Right, move this one over to the Officers' Mess!"
He met Doreen and, on 31st August 1957, they were married at St Mary's Church in Aylesbury. They celebrated their Golden Wedding last year and hoped to celebrate further anniversaries together. Alas this was not to be. Dave and Doreen had two sons, Michael and Jeremy. Dave was so proud of their achievements and took great pride in their families. He was at his happiest with his grandchildren relating all their pleasures and sayings to me when he saw me next.
I first met Dave when I was PHI Building Surveyor to the Aylesbury Rural District Council, when I carried out a final inspection on their home at Middle Field, Weston Turville. He was a Director of J H Midwinter, a large building and site developer in the area, building large schools etc. within a 40-mile radius of Aston Clinton.
Dave and Doreen moved to Wenwell Close, Aston Clinton, on the Midwinter Development. They attended Chapel in Green End Street there. I thus met him frequently on site visits. We discovered joint interests of football and steam locomotives. Dave frequented Traction engine rallies over the south and west of England, often in company with his brother in law, where he was well known to numerous exhibitors. Dave and I travelled many thousands of miles on rail tours and days out, raising funds for 6989 and 7200, two locomotives that we helped to rescue from Barry scrap yard. He never let me forget one incident on a tour of the Lake District. We had been held up near Carnforth Station and had to cut short a full crossing of Lake Windermere; the return coaches met us at Ambleside, where one person boarded the wrong coach, putting us in a quandary. Eventually we departed late, to catch the train at Grange over Sands. As a coach steward I bad two folded £5 notes to give to the coach driver, who had brilliantly brought us back in time. I gave him the folded notes and thanked him for a superb drive back and he put them in his pocket.
On the return train journey the Society stewards came round with the raffle board, "the prize is near here", they said. I felt in my pocket for my tickets and pulled out 2 folded £5 notes. I had given the driver my folded bundle of raffle tickets. Dave was in convulsions of laughter for at least 30 minutes afterwards I would have loved to see the coach driver's face when he examined the bundle l gave him!
Dave was the first Treasurer and Trustee of the 7200 Trust, which is working to restore 7200, a large 2-8-2 tank loco, to operation. Although not an accountant, the books were immaculate and easy to read. He was a man of many talents, but so modest and unassuming about them. Another of his interests was freshwater fishing, he was so lucky to have so many reservoirs in Bucks and Norfolk.
Dave started his own building firm when Midwinter ran down and his firm had a very high reputation for first class work, working for Local authorities and various large estates. When he retired he moved to North Walsham, enjoying the more relaxed atmosphere of East Anglia. He had been an avid supporter of the "Chair Boys" (Wycombe Wanderers) of whom his favourite player - you won't believe this - was called Guppy - you couldn't keep fish out of his mind!: and then he followed Norwich City. Dave thought well of everyone, never a snide remark, a practising Christian who went out of his way to help others - even to his cost. He took this attitude with his workforce - the youngsters were indentured and all given time off for their studies and training - most unusual in the modem building trades!
His love of steam engines lasted his full lifetime. At the time of his death I was "bagging up" a collection of two and one pence coins for the 7200 account that his brother had given me the day before and Dave was very much in my mind as I did so. To know Dave has been a privilege. To be able to count him as a friend is really something very special that I shall treasure for all of my life. Throughout his last years he suffered - when I phoned him, as I did regularly, he was so upbeat and enthusiastic, never complaining and always talking of improving and showing concern for our other pals. A "Good Samaritan" in every way.
As Bernard Miles would have it, "They don't make ‘em like that anymore!" Dave, you will live on in many people's memories, not only mine. Your good deeds were so many they will live on and will confound William Shakespeare's writings in Julius Caesar. Rest easy Dave, we will remember you, your passing will be sorely missed.
Your old pal, Eric Miller
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 02 December 2017