Memory wall

I’ll start…then please do leave your comments and memories of David. When I saw David on the Saturday before he died he genuinely couldn’t believe how many people had been in touch to wish him well. He had no idea how much he meant to so many.

Help me (Kevin) to make sure there is absolutely no doubt for Maggi or the world at large how much this man meant to us all.

If you have any photos of David you’d like to share, please upload them using the box below. It’ll be great to see them as he was a touch camera shy so there aren’t many!

86 Replies to “Memory wall”

  1. My earliest memories of Uncle Dave were as a child in the 70s (I was the child, he was just a big kid). I thought he was David Bowie. Yeah, close but no cigar…

    He was the uncle we kids were terrified of – there were dozens of us and we must have been bloody loud and annoying to the guy – no doubt confirming his decision not to have any brats of his own. As soon as I showed an interest in the noble art of fishing though all that changed. The scary man with the flash car (a yellow Ford Capri) became the kind and caring man we all know he was.

    I’ll save you the next 20 years of memories and skip to when David and I became friends. (say thank you!)

    David and Maggie needed a cat sitter so they could go chasing marlin and sailfish. I needed free lodgings with free food thrown in! When they returned from Hemmingways they didn’t ask me to leave…so I stayed, the added benefit of them being home that Maggs ironed my shirts and cooked better than I did! And I got to know my Uncle.

    What followed were several years of monthly cinema trips up in town. David would buy dinner, I’d buy the cinema tickets. We saw some shockingly bad movies I might add…or at least I did. David would fall asleep or walk out and smoke in Leicester Square leaving me to suffer the utter drivel he’d previously insisted would be a great movie.

    Maybe we shared the same sense of humour, maybe it was the shared passion for bitching about how the world was crap, or maybe it was just the fact I was happy to listen to his opinion on pretty much anything just for a cheap dinner. Whatever it was I loved his company and I think he liked mine too.

    I gave myself the honorary title of favourite nephew – a title David told me was false as to be favourite implied he liked at least one of us, which of course he denied. I just kept saying it until he ignored me and so through a lack of recent denial (since 18th August) I still claim my title today.

    He never met my daughter. I’m going to have to find a way to explain to her one day how the David Bowie lookalike was a huge influence on her Daddy and why he was such a special man. How do I do that?

    A wise guy once made up a now popular expression about you can’t choose your family.

    I’m proud to say I chose David Bird as my friend.

    Rest easy my friend. I’ll miss you forever.

    Your favourite nephew

    1. Hi all, my name is Ash, another nephew! I just wanted to follow on from Kev and say a few words about Uncle David. My earliest memories of David where as a small boy, living close by in Rye. At the weekends, I would visit Dave and Maggs with brother and sister and look forward to playing with the ‘Trumpton Fire Truck’, a glass of Coca Cola and feeding David’s fish at the bottom of the garden. If David was about, while often abrupt, David was always friendly, asking how we were before shouting at Maggs to fetch glasses of Coke! As a Cub Scout on ‘Bob-a-Job’ week, I can remember cleaning David’s car inside and out and Marvelling at the mountain of fag butts in the car and eventually finding the Ash tray! But through all of this I suppose I didn’t really know the man who was known to us all for being a bit grumpy (maybe a little understated!) when surrounded by excited kids running around as was often the case at Grandma and Grandad’s.
      One of my fondest memories of David and one where I think I saw some of the man who having read your memories, many of you knew and loved was at my Grandfathers funeral. I was 17 years old and this was my first loss as an adult who could now appreciate what a huge loss he was to our entire family. I think that this was probably the case for all David’s nephews and Nieces of about that age.
      Following the funeral, David took the eldest of us to the Top of the Hill pub and regaled us with stories about Grandad and our respective parents and their often colourful beer fuelled past!! He displayed a generous spirit and a compassion that we had not seen before. That day, laughter was most definitely the best medicine.
      I was very proud that David joined me last year in Devon to celebrate a career milestone and took some great pictures with which to remember the day.
      I recall as a young Marine, asking one of my Corporals if he had ever fished on the Military Canal, Rye as he was reading an Angling Magazine. He said he had, and I asked if he had ever met David Bird who ‘Sometimes fishes there!’ I was as amazed as he was when he opened his magazine, pointed at an article and said “What this David Bird?”. I had no idea – but was very proud!
      And finally, I have never been into fishing as I have problems sitting still!! But when I mentioned to David that I was going to the Ascension Islands and that there may be an opportunity to fish, he immediately launched himself in to a research mission to find me contacts to take me and my team out.
      David sadly passed the day that I flew to Ascension, but as promised, I went out sea fishing and had an awesome time! (despite being in a boat David would not have gone near!) Now while I may not have usurped David’s fishing prowess – and of course failed to bag an AmberJack as promised, I did bag a 40Ilb Yellowfin Tuna which I was very pleased with and which tasted great straight off the Barby with a cold Beer… and a toast to Uncle Dave…Sleep well my friend.

  2. David was a very special person to all who met or knew him. He was a black and white person, never confused by the greys of this life.

    He was the most generous in spirit as well as in deed, although he had many friends he claimed to hate. His humour was immense and was crystalised for us in his last days by his insistence on having a Pre Cremation Soiree, which in the end could not happen because the guest of honour had already departed. Typical, arranged a party then buggered off! Just the way David would have wanted it.

    The last party he had was for his sixtieth birthday where he had established a no smoking zone in the garden which might have measured about three feet square. Such was his humour and attitude to rules that he and I spent most of the time standing in it sharing a fag.

    I could talk about all he did for angling, his world vision, his view and commitment to angling unity over the years, his ability to organise great events, his sage advice in difficult times, his strong opinions on Europe and the Common Fisheries Policy, his skills as a designer, his commitment to his friends, his depth of knowledge and understanding of the world we work in, his frustration when people did not “get it”.

    All of this was part of the man we all knew. None of this sums him up, he was much more complex and lovable than those few words can convey and we have all lost a true friend.

    How can any of us know or realise yet just how much we will miss him.

    David you were and remain in our hearts. You were a one off. He broke the mould when He created you, I just hope that we can live up to His and your expectation and when we meet again you will be able to say, “That looks better now, well done.”

    Goodbye my friend and thank you.


  3. I had these from friends when they heard the news;

    “Thanks for letting me know this sad news Mike,
    I know how well the two of you got on – even in some verbal combat. Dave gave most of
    his life to angling and will be remembered for it”

    “Very sad news Mike, I was going to call him later this morning to see how he was and maybe have a chat.

    We all owe him far more than most of us will ever know.”

    “So glad he rang me last week and we had some jolly banter.”

    “Angling has lost another great fighter for its many causes.”

  4. My memories of David are many and varied and go back to the year when he was ‘on the road’ selling fishing tackle to the shops I worked in, via the old Rye and District matches which I rarely fished (they were over two days on Saturday and Sunday, and Saturdays I worked). We were both co-opted to represent angling when it was getting a tough time from abolitionists and separately and together met the foe and repelled boarders. We were ‘resident experts’ on alternate weeks of ‘Fisherman’s Tales’, the first-ever live angling TV show, on the now-long-gone Wire TV and I’ve spent hours in David’s office/workshop looking at the latest invention, idea, rig, photo and so on. Those that know him know what I mean.

    He earned enormous respect from specialist anglers, unusual when his background was in match fishing, especially organising events. His stewardship of the NFA was too brief but his integration policies live on and flourish.

    We didn’t always agree – I don’t know if anyone can say they ALWAYS agreed with David – but we remained chums and my life would have been far, far less exciting if some of the Bird Magic hadn’t rubbed off on me. He encouraged me to carry the fight, not just be a listener but to try and do too. I’ll keep trying.

    Rest in peace David.

  5. Well, you never turned the NFA into the organisation you wanted it to be, but you had a darn good go. Too much of a maverick for the old buffers, alas.
    But you were one of the few good men who did it for no ulterior motive: the best for angling was always at your heart. You beleived while others played at it. We should have fished together more, drunk more, but you weren’t a man for regrets, so they have no place here. The sport was lucky to have you fighting for it at a dark time, and you really made a difference, even though in your black dog moments, you questioned whether it had all been worthwhile. it was, and angling’s the poorer for your passing.




  7. For the last two years me and my wife have holidayed with David and Maggi in Kenya and had the most fantastic time.
    During the fun days Fishing with David he would always ask if everything was ok perfect I`d reply only perfect he`d say must try harder, David couldn’t do enough for us and his kindness and generosity we will never forget.
    David was not a man to sit on the fence about things and was one of life’s true characters we will miss him very much.

  8. The first time i met uncle david i was 13 or 14 years old . Didnt even know i had a uncle who would talk to me as an adult at such a young age, which i never had before . He left such a mark on my heart and soul he changed me for the good . The love i have for the man holds no bounds and i will always have good memories of him.

    iIwent fishing with uncle david on 3 occassions all of them the best days fishing i ever had.
    First time at the age of 16 was at nut field priory carping first time i ever caught a carp , nothing to write home about but a great day . I got my picture in the angling times, and still have the framed photos.

    Second time we were late of course it wasnt his fault he blamed maggie because she hadnt set the alarm clock ,driving, at 140mph to meet the bait man by the lake, i was scared sh*ttless .course fishing tench and bream, my personal records for both still stand to this day 20 years on.

    Third time he came to me in Peterborough we went to ferry meadows country park , filled 2 keep nets .

    These 3 days were all over 18 years ago but i still remember them like yesterday.

    Uncle david was more than an uncle he was a friend, there for me in more ways than one supportive and caring.

    i wish so so much i knew him better .

    love always nathan xx

  9. My memories of Uncle David where always of someone being so very friendly and generous. He spoke to me like a best mate from the first day i met him and and always had funny stories to tell about his fishing trips around the world.
    I remember staying at David and Maggy’s with a friend when I was a teenager. David was always sitting in his smokey office typing away, having a moan about someone or other he’d just spoken to on the phone, but always taking time out to ask if we’d had a good day and making sure we where enjoying ourselves. He’d occasionally offer us a cup of tea then shout for Maggy to make it “MAGGY! Put the kettle on darling, the boys are dying of thirst” ha ha.
    I admired his dedication to his hobby and his work, (which was probably one and the same for him) he was always working on something, be it a magazine article or writting letters for one of the many organisations he was involved with, or one of his business ventures.
    He also introduced me to Monty Python, putting on The Holy Grail one evening. I was thinking what the hell is this weird thing (I’d led a very sheltered life you know) and there he sat chuckling away in a cloud of fag smoke. I’ve since become a huge fan Python, so a big thank you to you David for that.

    Like my brother Nathan has said, he was someone I really should have got to know better.

    Rest in peace Uncle David x

  10. My earliest recollection of David was nearly 20 years ago during a brief encounter in Middlesex Angling Centre.

    He was the man wearing huge glasses and a colourful blazer, engulfed in cigarette smoke, hugging a coffee and chewing the fat with a group of guys, inadvertently masking the entrance.
    “Mind your backs lads, short person coming through” he barked, and the group parted to let me through.
    I was grateful but annoyed by his parting comment and retorted cheekily as I entered the shop,
    “Thanks. That’s some jacket. Does it come with volume control?”
    Followed by a collective snigger from his previous audience!!

    Over a decade later, my involvements with the Specialist Anglers Alliance and Stoney & Friends meant our paths would cross on almost a monthly basis. We became great friends, and I grew to love both David and Maggi and spent some special times in their company. My best memories of David come from the 5 year period we spent travelling the length and breadth of the country together, debating anglings problems, hatching solutions and eating wine gums!

    The last time I saw David was just over a week before he passed away.
    A shadow of his former self and clearly very ill, (he refused my generous gift of 2 packets wine gums!) we held hands and wallowed in the sadness of it all for a moment.

    RIP David-missing you already x x

  11. Uncle David it is sad that you are gone, 20 or so years ago you taught me many things I have remembered and benefited from, you were generous with you hospitality. Your wisdom was always blunt. My most quoted David Bird line is “never assume” it has served me well. RIP David Bird, Love David.

  12. I only met David on a few occassions but that was enough for me to know that this was a man who never held back on his feelings and beliefs. He was a true friend to angling and anglers. My first meeting was with David “in the chair”. My feelings? Unease! Soon to be replaced by the satisfation that” Here was a man with conviction” Angling has lost another good friend.
    Too few to fight for so many. Thank you David for allowing me to be a very small part in your life. RIP.

  13. As someone who never knew David nearly so well as others I’m sure that I’m poorer for it. However on the occasions our paths crossed, begining with the lead shot saga, his dedication and help was an inspiration to someone trying to fight for angling north of Watford.
    Didn’t someone say that they could see further because they stood on the shoulders of giants? Over the years David was such a giant and a great many used his shoulders.
    I’ll miss you as will many others although they’ll never know it.


  14. David was one of the first people I met when started working with Dreamstore. He was hugely encouraging, helpful in direct comments and always good to chat to. He had a passion for angling, and for anyone who simply wanted more people to enjoy the simple pleasure he so enjoyed himself.

    Great guy. A great loss.


  15. There is very little I can add to what my learned friends have already written, for all of it is true. He was all those things and more. For me he was just funny and he made me laugh, his humor (American dictionary) could be scathing. During his presidency he once nick named one of his vice-presidents, a rather stout chap, who ran a mini-supermarket on a council estate, I think in Worksop, the late Gerald Rollinson as “The fat grocer.” His put-downs were legendary. Over the 30 odd years we were friends he contributed articles to a number of my publications. He drove the libel lawyers frantic. Sadly I once made the mistake of telling him that there was no legal aid in libel cases. Namely that it cost the offended party a lot of money to bring a libel action, which they hoped to recoup when they won the case. On the other hand, if they lost it was goodnight Vienna. A couple of months later I had to return an article to David in which he had savaged some poor bloke. Having run it past the lawyers all that was left on the page was red ink and a note on the bottom which read ‘Houdini couldn’t get you out of this one.” So I called him and explained that you can’t call somebody a robbing thieving bastard, even if it’s true. “No we’ll be OK,” he said “I’ve checked him out, he’s skint.”
    We spent a lot of time together during the run up to his election to the presidency of the NFA. I called them the ‘Chablis Years.’ We would sit and talk well into the night, putting the world to right, then have little memory of any of it the next day. In fact talking on the telephone just prior to his death he recalled that after one such boozy evening he telephoned me a few days later and said, “Right Hally, you’ve talked me into it, I’ll stand.” ‘For what?” I asked. “The presidency of course, you’ve talked me into it.” And he did and he won. I can tell you with hand on heart, I have no memory of any such conversation.
    I was aware of David’s condition almost from the off and spoke to him several times during his last fortnight. August the 18th was to be a lunch party for a small number of very close friends. the invitation read “You are cordially invited to attend a’ Pre-Cremation Soiree (Piss-up to you’) Sadly that event would not take place. He called me the evening before his death and was clearly excited at the prospect of seeing Ruth, Mike, Bruno, Dave Ball and a few others. As we talked he suddenly came out with a classic ‘Birdy’ line when he said “It’s not smoking that kills you. it’s that bloody furnace at the crematorium that does for you.” A great line, ironic but never the less a great line.
    I could go on about his commitment, his passion, his loyalty to his friends, but others have done it more eloquently. He was my pal and I loved him to death but mostly he made me laugh and that’s what I’ll miss.

    David Hall.

  16. I’d just become a father for the first time, when out of the blue I had one of those all too rare ‘phone calls from David. He’d heard of the happy event and called to congratulate me.
    ‘A boy eh?’ he boomed: ‘And what are you going to call him?’
    ‘Samuel Jacob,’ I replied.
    ‘But you’re not Jewish!’ he roared back down the line.
    ‘Anyway,what’s wrong with a good, solid Northern name – like DAVID – which is Jewish as well!’ he cackled.
    I pointed out that it had been crossed off the list as perhaps being a little too tarnished, and that instead we had toyed with the name ‘Herod’, but rejected that as being too liberal.
    Birdy, still laughing, managed to choke out: ‘Man after my own heart,’
    I still don’t know if he meant me, or Herod…

    Paul Dennis

  17. Well where do I start, firstly David was a proud and active Vice-Chairman of our committee and very generous with it too, just before all of our events I would be summoned by him to come over and have a cuppa and then go steal all his stock and leave him penniless, you all knew what he was like, but still saying, you need some of these too, oh, and I guess you need another stalking rod.

    I remember at one time I mentioned about a possible match in a few years time I would be organising and asking for any suggestions, well a few more cups of tea, and me not getting a word in edgeways, ended up with David offering to run the whole event, as long as he had total control, how surprising eh.

    On the Monday 2nd August leading up to our “Yateley Bash” 2010, David rung to say he has just got home from the hospital, and had been given the dreadful news, but he still managed to abuse me about coming to gather some prizes, but to give him a few days, he then went on to say the only reason he got involved with this bunch of reprobates called “Stoney & Friends” was to make sure he got one of those Macmillan Nurses with great big knockers to look after him !!!

    To sum up:

    Boy am I going to miss scrambling around on the floor, counting out many 1000’s of swivels, clips, beads, cork balls and hooks and putting in packets.

    You left me with so many ideas on how to organise a high profile match.

    Where ever you are, let’s hope it’s the one with the biggest knockers.

    Will miss you David and you have certainly left your mark on many of us.

    R.I.P David “Brother of the Angle”

  18. What a sad day for us fishy blokes but fantastic for David’s family to know what a mark he has left. I loved his stories of fishing huge depths of water for various weird beasts; Jesus, how he loved it.

    I’d like to have shared a good few more fags with David but that’ll have to wait. Maybe I should give up…or not…

    Have great day of celebration all and I am sad to be missing it.


  19. Birdy, does this mean your not taking my kids fishing on Unreel in October? Will miss our chats. See you later Man. Keep me a seat.

  20. I was lucky enough to have David and Maggie open their home to me many years ago when I landed in the uk looking for a teaching job.
    I remember the door slamming open early in the morning with a cup of tea on the bedside table, and the endless cups that would follow throughout the day. There were the ongoing “discussions” on any and every topic (religion, politics, the monarchy). David would enjoy provoking me with his opinions. Boy did I ever hone my debating skills that year! Chasing the cats around the back garden and properly locking the cat door. The Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard. And of course, always asking me if I was “alright”.
    There are too many memories… David, thanks so very much for everything

    ps. am still working on making statements and not always asking questions!!! lots of love always m

  21. I had the dubious fortune to be introduced to David & Maggie a few years ago when I was recruited as a “mule” to ferry the first of a series of items of tackle out to Hemingways in Kenya.
    I say fortune, because had we not met, I would undoubtably been the poorer & richer for the omission.
    Poorer in that I would not have met such an extraordinary man who never bragged about his past exploits: in fact you had to drag the details out of every throw away aside made; but who was almost evangelical in his desire to see a relative newcomer to blue water angling progress, and in the “correct” manner.
    Richer in that I somehow have managed to accumulate in short order a veritable tackle store of rods, reels, bondage gear (harnesses!) together with all the ancillary stuff that I never realised I needed.
    Post hypnotic suggestion?
    Just a phone call, “pop over for a cuppa, I’ve got something you need”.
    Several coffees & fags later, with no recollection of the intervening time, I am once again standing on the front step, trying to shake hands and hang onto another mass of gear at the same time!
    I never got the chance to fish with him, something I will always regret, but I treasure the memories of a genuine friend.
    Safari Njema David

  22. It was with much sadness that I found out about Birdy’s passing today. I last saw David just over a year ago when I enjoyed a ham, egg and chip lunch with him and Dave Ball at the pub just around the corner from Surbiton Angling. Obviously, I had no idea that would be the last time I would speak to him.

    Birdy taught me a lot – about myself, fishing, politics and life. I think I could say that, maybe like he was, I am not everyone’s cup of tea. But Birdy didn’t care about that. “He’s alright, Jim,” he’d say to people. And I appreciated that. He made me laugh whenever I was in his company. As David Hall says above, his put-downs were unbelievable. And he probably taught me more about politics that I learned in the three years studying the subject as an undergraduate at York University!

    I’ll never forget the two trips to Kenya I made with him. I was a nervous flyer at the time, so he gave me a couple of pills on the first flight over (it scared the sh*t out of me that we were flying with Kenya Airways, for some reason). “Here you go Jim, just take these, you’ll be fine,” he said in the departure lounge. I almost didn’t make it onto the plane through lapsing into unconsciousness, and woke up after we’d touched down in Nairobi. He’d given me an industrial strength dose of valium!

    When over there, I told him that I had always wanted to catch a big shark. “Okay,” he said, “but are you sure?” I said I was sure, so David instructed the skipper – Robbie, out of Hemingways – to target a big shark. We caught some bonito as live baits, stuck one on the downrigger and 15 minutes later the 70lb-class rod buckled over as Robbie put the boat’s engine into overdrive to set the hook.

    Three hours later and eight miles further out to sea, with the fish swimming hard against the tide and far from beaten, David poured some cold water over my head and said, “Still want to catch a big shark?”

    An hour after that I was completely stuffed. Totally knackered. But eventually we got the shark – a near 700lb bull – over the back of the boat and made our way back to shore. Birdy loved every minute of it – he was THE man whenever he went back to Hemingways. The staff there, from the waiters and the skippers through to the big boss, Gary Cullen, doted over him. His knowledge of big game fishing (as with just about every other form of fishing) was extensive, probably not bettered. And what I really, really loved about him was his passion in fighting commercial over-fishing and the exploitation of our oceans. He was so vocal about this.

    I fact, I think it would be fair to say that although there are a few fish in the Indian Ocean that are now undoubtedly safer with his passing (!), fish stocks in all the worlds’ oceans are in more danger than before now Birdy’s gone. There was no-one quite like him when it came to raising awareness of the plight of the bluefin, the yellowfin, marlin, sharks, sailfish… I could go on.

    The world needs people like David. Fish do. We all do. His loss is of a magnitude we probably do not yet begin to appreciate.


  23. With the death of David Bird, angling has lost one of its staunchest and most able advocates. In an angling context, he really defined the phrase ‘conviction politician’ – a man with strong views, and clear sense of purpose and a willingness to do whatever was necessary to protect and promote the sport. He was charismatic, generous, devastatingly effective and wonderful company.

    I never saw David intimidated by anything or anyone, no matter what the situation. He could be forthright and cuttingly honest, but he simply refused to treat politicians or organisations with deference. He applied that maxim to himself: despite holding a number of key, senior positions within angling, he wouldn’t shirk or delegate even the most menial tasks if there was no-one to do them.

    At the ground-breaking Bough Beech fish-in in 1987 – organised by the National Association of Specialist Anglers (ironically, as it turned out, to raise money for the Cancer Research Campaign) – we were short of car parking supervisors for the hundreds of vehicles that turned up on he day. Without a moment’s hesitation, he volunteered for the job, slipped on the white coat and spent most of the day in a field, directing traffic and entertaining the drivers. That task finished, he went straight into a live, local radio ‘phone-in to debate the animal rights movement!

    In the heady days during the late 1980s and early 1990s, David led the moves to drag angling into the modern era. Without his direct involvement, the eventual outcome of furore over anglers’ accidental poisoning of mute swans with lead shot could have had a hugely damaging impact on the sport; he squared up to and faced down anti-angling moves wherever and whenever they appeared; he initiated the collaboration with Friends of the Earth that led to the launch of the ‘Charter for the Water Environment’, a milestone campaign that reflected his strong belief that angling was a force for environmental good; and he initiated dialogue and met with the RSPB and the RSPCA, among others.

    And during the 18-month long panel of inquiry into angling – established by what was then the Sports Council – it was Birdy who paved the way for what, years later, would become the unification of the sport under the Angling Trust. It was under his guidance that the informal ‘ginger movement’ he established on fish welfare evolved into what is now the hugely influential Fish Welfare Group.

    He and I worked closely together on many campaigns and in several contexts. For several years, he served the Angling Trades Association as its environmental director, and our joint work took in matters as diverse as cormorants, shark-tagging, the Common Fisheries Policy, reform of fisheries legislation, overhead power lines and angling in schools. One of our proudest outcomes was to appear together before House of Commons Select Committee and persuade it to specifically exclude angling from the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act.

    David was also a great communicator, and I always felt that he was at his most comfortable when putting the world to rights. A five-minute social chat could easily evolve into a two-hour debate which neither of us wanted to finish. In public, he could hold an audience in the palm of his hand with his rhetoric and his unswerving passion for angling and anglers’ rights. His humour was never far below the surface – at times hilarious, frequently ribald and often cuttingly honest.

    As an illustration, I recall an impromptu meeting at the coffee machine in the basement of the Sports Council officers in London. A senior Sports Council officer overheard our discussion about angling politics and asked: “So, what single action would you propose to modernise the sport?” In a flash, Birdy replied: “Invite all the leaders of angling to a meeting… and then bomb the bloody building”!

    Angling is far stronger and the richer for David Bird’s involvement with the sport. Those fortunate enough to have known him will miss him terribly.

  24. David was about the only person I was scared to ring when I started on Angler’s Mail 19 years ago…..but he became a friend, someone I looked forward to seeing and hearing. The banter, the passion.

    I loved those calls out of the blue: “Tim…David Bird. You might not have heard yet….” followed by fascinating insight, and a few unprintables.

    The jackets: straight outta Henley!

    One of my final memories was getting Birdy to pose, pointing in “Your Country Needs You” style straight at my camera in some quiet corner of a tackle show.
    “Does this look serious enough?”
    Yeah, just the job, David.
    Our country still needs you…

    Angler’s Mail is putting two tributes on our website – Paul Dennis’s memories plus an archive Inside Line interview – as the sad news arrived in time for only a short mention in this week’s issue.

    Best wishes to all,

  25. David and I had been on the Rother practising for the infamous 2 Day Match, and, on returning to his house in Rye, laden down with buckets of various baits and van loads of tackle, we passed through his back garden, where he had a little ornamental pond.
    There on the top of the pond lay a motionless gold fish, ” Oh no, It’s Henry, I’ve had him for years”, he cried.
    He knelt beside the pond and very carefully scooped the fish from the surface in his cupped hands, he stood up and then suddenly launched this fish 50ft into the air and onto the railway embankment.” Bye Henry” he said.
    And there was I thinking he would be digging a suitble hole and sellotaping a couple of lolly sticks together!

    Bye David, and my sincere condolences to Maggie.

  26. My first contact with David!
    A truly great gentleman who gave me the time of day, not only through business with fishing items but to have a conversation about almost anything. I met David for the first time almost 2 years ago, won’t forget it either!
    David is one of those people who stays with you in your memory.
    I have just spoken to Maggie and I had to post my comments about David.
    He helped me when I was starting out with rod building, not only with the bits and pieces of it all but with the buisiness itself.
    Another phone call to David was never to much, when I had another question. The phrase “What do you want now Cake hole?”, will be in my memory of a fellow angling who has been helped along the way. Words are never enough when you are trying to express what you want to say about someone who has been a great help and friend.
    David, happy fishing where you are now.

  27. Dave and I met through business and quickly became firm friends. The first time I visited his house I noticed cat feeding bowls in the kitchen. When I asked to be introduced to his cats he led me upstairs and opened the airing cupboard where three spoiled Burmese cats were dozing. I came to know these three over the years and as they grew old and variously passed on he knew each time that I understood how he felt. When his favourite cat, Jaime’s time had finally come we didn’t need to speak. We both knew what was going on inside his head.

    We always meant to fish together on my boat but somehow we never found the time. There’s a lesson for us all……….Make the time, we don’t know how much of it is left.

    We shared a love of cats, fishing and Kenya. We also shared something else, what Winston Churchill referred to as his “Black dog”. When I wasn’t good, Dave was always there and I for him when his world turned dark. We were mistaken Dave, the world couldn’t be dark when you had so many friends.

    I hadn’t heard the Swahili phrase “Safari Njema” until I read it further up the page. I checked the translation and it echoes what I want to say, so with permission of the original poster I wish you the same.

    Safari Njema my friend.

    1. Peter,
      No need to ask permission, The phrase hits the spot.
      He taught me more, in a short space of time, than I would ever have gleaned from countless tomes.
      Concise, forthright and accurate.
      How I miss his counsel.

  28. I was so sad to hear that David Bird a good old friend (not so much of the “old” I hear him saying)
    and a tireless Champion for angling and fisheries has died.

    As most of us know, David was a past President of the National Federation of Anglers and until
    the formation of the Angling Trust in 2009 was Chairman of the Specialist Anglers’ Alliance

    I first met David in 1987 when following his election as NFA President he
    joined the National Anglers’ Council Executive Committee. We got on very
    well instantly but I think were both a bit shy at admitting it and very often the sparks
    would fly with our differing opinions from NFA (David) and me (Standing
    Conference of Consultatives, predecessor of NAFAC).

    David really was a live wire and got hold of the ailing NFA by the scruff of
    the neck and really made things start to happen. But that didn’t suit the
    old Derby brigade, and of course he was the first “bloody Southerner” on the scene so at
    the earliest opportunity he had to go, and so he went.

    I never ever admitted it, other than to David, but I nicked the idea of our
    very popular NAFAC Information/Fact sheets from David who first started them
    for NFA and they discontinued them after he left office. Then back in 2005 following the
    untimely death of Terry Mansbridge we had a meeting up in Yorkshire, just Martin Read, Mike Heylin,
    David Bird and myself to see how NAFAC and SAA could work more closely together. Following that
    meeting we tried to head hunt David (and Mike) for the NAFAC Council but David said he was looking to
    ease up on fishy jobs not take more on and sadly I had not personally seen him since that meeting.
    Mike Heylin did come on the NAFAC in a sort of ex-officio position but of course he was
    already very involved with the National Anglers’ Alliance and the highly influential Fish Welfare Group.

    So David, may you rest in peace up there, you really to my mind was “a fisher of men” you’re probably having a
    match with another old mate, (Slug man) Charlie Landells ex President of the Chub Study Group who went to the
    big fishery in the sky earlier this year. And put that bloody fag out!

    Miss you mate.

    Fred French

  29. Jennette and myself first met David on a warm sunny afternoon at hemingways in kenya. David was sat drinking kenyan tea overlooking the indian ocean. Well it was not long before we were chattering on about fishing (would you believe) especially amberjack. Well we all shared another pot of tea and David continued to talk about fishing and his new methods for catching the big one. We became very good friends and often back home in england he would turn up with lots of fishing bits, new rigs and lots of new ideas. This of course was always over a large pot of tea. Back in kenya i had the pleasure of David fishing on my boat many times, he would constantly try out his new rigs and his new methods, which i must say i did`nt always agree with, but we always had a great day and there was plenty to talk about when we got back to hemingways. Jennette and myself will miss David very much and there is no doubt that when we are out fishing for amberjack i will probably get a sense of someone telling me i am doing it all wrong.

    We will remember you fondly when back in kenya enjoying a (David bird coffee) at hemingways overlooking the blue waters of the indian ocean.
    Bless you David
    Steve & Jennette

  30. When i came out to kenya to do some fishing, my dad introduced me to Dave who i remember very well. I would walk down to hemingways to see what Dave had caught and to listen to his stories. He was always making different bits and bobs and he also had some good advice for me (dont go fishing with your dad). I love my fishing at home and in kenya, just like dad and Dave, so i was very sad when i realised he wouldnt be there the next time i came out to kenya. So Dave this is my special message for you, many months have passed by, and probably many fish too. But dont worry Dave im going back to kenya to get that Big amberjack for you. Love Brad

  31. Mr. David Bird

    Words can not begin to describe this colorful, high energy, larger than life man.
    David and I began as business partners, and quickly grew into life-long friends.

    He was tireless in his work habits. My wife would just shake her head when David would call needing something late on Friday night, or early Sunday morning. He thought everyone should be working! His work was his passion and he enjoyed it immensely. He always made time in every conversation, though, to inquire about our family and what was happening in our lives. He was quick to think of others first.

    We spoke almost daily on the phone regarding business and grand ideas, and nearly every time it would end in laughter. He had a tremendous sense of humor.

    Although not all might agree with his political views, we can all agree he was a champion for angling and the angling trade. He will be deeply missed by those who were fortunate enough to cross paths with him in this life.

    Your mate,
    Rick Hall

  32. Dear Birdy
    I’ll still remember you with a smile, even though you allways led me astray in the GLOBE INN at Rye in the late seventies when I should have been tucked up in bed ready for the big match.
    After all you were the man who taught me how to put half a bottle of Gordens and a single tonic in one glass.
    Maria and I thought we were so special when we stayed with you and Maggie in your house in Rye, even though you got me up at 5am to go shrimping on a freezing wind swept beach. The kindness and hospitality was allways excellent, but it turns out nearly every matchman I speak to stayed there as well !
    You also taught me how to be a passive smoker ( I hated those ash trays in your car but you just didn;t care did you ! )
    But we got our own back didn’t we when you came to manage us in Dorking , we nearly tipped you over the edge.
    A perfectionist in a very imperfect world.
    You stilled loved us though even when Dave Roberts put that big plastic spider in your drink in the pub in Dorking and you nearly choked to Death in the loo!
    Fond memories
    Relax now old boy
    Love Ken and Maria Collings xxxxx

  33. I also remember the Rye DAS events fondly – the piss ups in the Globe, The Cock and others. The presentations at Thomas Peacock School. Good sponsored matches organised by the club but masterminded by David.

    He was the one who influenced me to run opens properly (well reasonably properly!) and obtain sponsorships. One year he came along to persuade a very difficult committee the virtues of joining the NFA. Although he failed on that occasion, once some of the old guard disappeared, Warlingham DAS joined around 1983 and are still members of the Angling Trust even though we are one of the few who do not fish the National currently.

    His tenure as President of the NFA was all too short but he as usual made a positive impact.

    Farewell old friend

  34. I’ll always remember and cherish the long telephone chats about ‘out of the box’ angling ideas. They lasted hours but were so intense that it always felt like seconds. I always ended up feeling that I’d been convinced of something but was never quite sure precisely what. To be ‘Birded’ was a rare privilege.

    There are few people that I have total respect for and David is one of these (as are some of the people who he managed to surround himself with). A born leader, an argumentative cuss but above all, an all round great bloke who has earned every bit of the respect and love shown on this ‘wall’..

    David had a stalking rod made for me which he nicknamed the ‘Christmas Tree’ because it had everything on it. I believe it was the first chipped (as in RFID tagged) rod in the country – that was another result of a long and random telephone chat. It will be taken for an outing in the very near future and I’ll be thinking of him when I’m using it. It’s sad to think that I’ll treasure that gift even more now.

    David was a very special man.

    Unity Unity Unity


  35. Thanks for everything Birdie; you will be sorely missed. Who will answer all my silly fishing questions now? You’ll be in our hearts always. (And I can say that now without fear of a sarky comment back about being a stupid softie!)

  36. For the three of us here who had considerable dealings over the last few years with David, he will be very much missed. We somehow persuaded him to use his knowledge of fishing tackle to help construct a better fox snare, and then made his path to commercial production hell with our pedantic and nit-pickingly scientific ways. I think he was pleased to know in the last few months that ‘our’ design was about to enter the marketplace. For us, that chapter of our work is pretty much over, and suddenly a lot of colour and humour has gone too. We plan to immortalise him in a scientific paper describing our work together, whether he likes it or not – but I think he would.

  37. I met David over 40 yrs ago. We were both in our twenties and had married into the Bourne Clan. All long hair and flares – and that was just David.
    We didn’t want to be ‘in laws’ that was much too ordinary for us, so we always said we were the ‘out laws’.
    David was outrageous, blunt, funny and always entertaining. He really knew how to liven up family gatherings and there were plenty of them.
    David never called me Maggie. He said Maggi was Maggi so he always called me Diddi or Dids – connection ‘diddicoy’ but thats another story.
    When I had my first baby did David say all the right things to a new mum? No! He said ” Christ Dids what have you done. Looks like a bloody monkey”. Years later he did however tell me I had done alright with my lot. That was a David style compliment!
    In the last 12 years or so I changed from family to friend. David asked me to join in the cinema outings in London with him and Kevin. We had splendid meals – thanks Maggi, I think your credit card took a bit of a battering – a variety of films ( some were serious crap) and great chats. Between us we came up with some amazing, weird and crackpot ideas on how the world should be and how we could put it right. David was endlessly enthusiastic about his latest ideas and ventures. Now I knew the real David and I am so glad I did.
    One of my best days ever was on a fishing boat of the coast of South Africa with David, Maggi and Kevin, when David spent literally hours trying to bring in a very large fish. In the end the line broke and we didn’t get to see what had been giving such an amazing fight! The boat had been pulled backwards over 70 miles of the coast, the weather was scary, the sea was huge, but what a day.
    David I love you to bits. I cannot believe you are not out there somewhere, fag in hand telling someone how things should be,
    or maybe you are, as you kept telling me “Never assume…………………..”
    P.S. If you are. Get the place sorted before I arrive.

  38. I have know David for more than 20 years through my husband’s fishing tackle shop (Middlesex Angling Centre) and then when we shut our shop my husband helped David with his business by packing and helping him to invent new methods of all types of fishing accessories. They also spent many an hour debating new items and eventually agreeing to disagree on some!!
    When I lost my husband in 2008 David wrote and read the most wonderful eulogy at the funeral on how they had been such good friends for a long time and how he was going to miss him. I will always be grateful for his kind and considerate words.
    It is with great sadness that I am writing this but I will always rember Dave for his madcap ways and everytime he came to our house his first words were “come on June get the kettle on!” I hope David and my husband have found each other again and are carrying on their debates!
    He will be greatly missed by many friends and relatives alike and I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to Maggie.
    RIP David

  39. How do I remember David?

    The loud blazer, the loud voice, the ever present cigarette.
    The fish, the cats, the garden, deck shoes and Moules Mariniere.
    His laughter, his voice, his restlesness,
    ‘Alright’; ‘MAGGI’; ‘Cum-on Mags we’re goin’.
    His irascible temper and honesty,
    His enthusiasm for all things fish (and his ability to persuade you to be interested- if not involved)
    His lack of interest in babies and children (he definitely thought they would change me into someone more boring)
    His love for his cats, Toby, Tramp and Jamie.
    A trip down the Thames to Hampton Court Flower Show.
    How much he missed Maggi when she was working away,
    How much he needed her to around to be happy and feel secure.
    My wedding video and photos.
    My brother Kevin’s pride as a child of about 8, on seeing David on the front of an Angling paper with the caption; 3 things you didn’t know about David Bird.
    ‘I knew all of them’ he said.
    There were two indicators that you were growing up in our family, the first was being able to join in the family card games, the second was when Uncle David stopped being scary, and then you went to stay with him and Maggi.
    Well I only managed that for 2 weeks, but for all the fun and chats over the years, thenk you.
    I’ll not miss the smoke, but I will miss you.
    Goodbye David

  40. No not the Barbel man

    On the occasions that we met, I will always remember that David always had time for people, it was a gift

    Thank you for everything you did


  41. The first time I encountered Dave’s name, being a Northerner, was in one of David Hall’s publications well over 25 years ago. Dave had announced he would stand for the Presidency of the NFA and Hally had given him space for an in-depth personal article.
    I read that and thought wow, this is the guy who should be running the NFA! He’s got vision, knowledge, understands what I, an ordinary angler, wants from his national body. The rest being history as we all know who knew him.
    I was saddened for him and angling when I read the follow up article of his resignation.
    Clearly Dave was still active doing what he did in the intervening years when there was little national press about him.

    Rolling forward 20 years or so and then this guy turns up at a SACG meeting and its Dave. Come to the meeting to raise the plight of sharks and the shark-tagging scheme I seem to remember. This was the first time I’d ever met Dave in person and he didn’t disappoint for the person I’d admired in print and from afar.
    He was passionate, knowledgeable, well reasoned and funny when making his address about the plight of the shark populations in UK and world waters.
    I seem to recall we had a brief discussion about conservation measures for shark protection after the meeting.

    Time passed and he became Chair of the SAA and I got to know him much better because he like me cared about conservation per se. That’s not to say the others didn’t by the way, because they did. But there was just something with Dave and the conversations we had about it were just a little bit more special.
    At the time I was doing my degree in Environmental Studies and Ecology and Dave always asked how it was going and gave encouragement to the end goal.

    One of the comments I remember him saying to me was, “Phil, angling needs people with these type of qualifications to argue the case for angling to those in power at the top level. Anecdotal, hearsay evidence doesn’t cut it with them, they want scientific proven evidence and argument to shift em’!”
    Wise words indeed!

    Unity within angling was always a big thing with Dave, he may even have addressed it in the Hally piece. It’s so long ago now, I can’t remember. I remember him phoning me one night and asking me what I felt about a move towards it. I think I probably said in principle I don’t disagree with it, but I can’t see it happening. I’ll send you a paper I’ve done on how it can be achieved. Then tells me more or less chapter and verse what was in it for the next hour.

    Then there was the phone call from him, somewhat excited and very upbeat having been to lunch (I guess he liked his lunches out) with the top Bod from WWF having agreed a working partnership with angling.
    Rightly so he was proud of this and I told him so.

    Yes, that to me was Dave, a very good Front Man when needed. Confident, fearless, take on all comers in any arena, with the consummate skill when called on, to go about things in a quite diplomatic way to get the job done with the best possible result for angling.

    As a friend, a kindred spirit I shall miss him deeply.

    So rest the rest of the dead my friend, the fighting mark you made for anglers and angling will never be forgotten in my memory.


  42. Back in the 1980’s I spent some time in the tackle trade as a freelance salesman and I think ( it was a few years ago and I have qualified for my bus pass) that David was an agent for Steades at the same time. Sales meetings and conferences were always lively affairs as David did not suffer fools gladly. Angling has lost a great champion and it will be very difficult for someone to fill his shoes and take up the cause of angling.

  43. The fishing world has lost a great ambassador and I have lost a good mate and fishing buddy.
    R.I.P my friend Phil Revett

  44. I met David via the GWCT earlier this year and immediately clicked. Since that first meeting we went on to build a good business relationship and friendship with many hours sat in his kitchen talking business and drinking lots of tea. He would always be there to help out and solve problems and I will very much miss him, his humour and business advice. Thanks David

  45. David and I were of a generation. We also shared an irreverent sense of humour which we understood but many didn’t. I shall miss my friend David, the gags, the jokes, the character assassinations, the odd occasions when we could sit drink tea and put the world to rights. Wait for me my friend I am not far behind you. R.I.P. Russ.

  46. So sad to hear David’s no longer with us. I only got to know him in recent years, as a generous supplier of those obscure bits and bobs that I couldn’t find anywhere else, and then some. A bit like an angling version of James Bond’s ‘Q’, is how I think of him. But more than that, visiting David was always a laugh. In my experience, he was one of those rare people whose surplus energy never failed to energise others. I will miss that.

  47. Human dynamo, designer, angler extaordinaire, mentor and tea drinker par excellence. A man I admired and went to for advice which was always freely given. How I miss those amusing, daily abusive phone calls reminding me how incompetent I am. The world is a poorer place without him. God bless you mate.

  48. Bless Him,

    Will miss you dearly Dave, Im totally gutted in fact but enjoyed the time we spent together and am grateful for that and the fond memories. My sincere condolences to the family and Maggs.

    David in my eyes was 100%er LOVE HIM


    Ronnie Buss

  49. David & I came together at an age when we qualified as a ‘pair of grumpy old men’, some of the debates would have made good viewing if not a little colourful! More of that later, my first encounter was towards the end of the 1990’s, the NFA had rekindled angling coaching and I was one of the initial loud and proactive group, interested in waterside safety I was handed a video tape relating to overhead electrical cables. The tape feature a TV report for News Round and a young angler who had survived his rod touching overhead power cables. David was the ‘voice of angling’ echoing the dangers to all who use the waterside, especially anglers. The NFA was responsible for the real life meeting a few years later, at an NFA Southern Region meeting in Reading with an objective to ‘bring angling together’ David, Les Weber and other non-NFA anglers were invited. Now that was a lively meeting (for a change). The NFA and unity of angling will form part of angling history always the subject to be seen with passion and dismay depending on your side of the fence.
    Shortly after that meeting David called to ask if I could build a fishing rod for him. ‘Stupid boy’ to use one of his phrases. A tackle retailer had given me the title ‘Rod doctor’ and I had been building rods since my youth. David got my cautionary answer, ‘Let’s talk and see how far we get along the road’. Bloody hell, didn’t we talk, having a small office at home and a workshop out of the way, David would call by phone, almost without fail at 7.30pm on a Sunday evening needing a stress break, oh by the way what’s a good day to call in next week. Apart from the vagaries of the A3 road works at Hindhead his timing was spot on. Coming in like a whirlwind announcing he had another call to make, ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’ ‘I shouldn’t, got to . . . ‘. Strong without sugar and a chat for an hour. ‘Oh F . . . ! I better go I was supposed to be with ‘X’ at ..(time)’ and I knew that to be an hour’s drive away.
    That was the start of a relationship where we put ‘grumpy old men’ to shame, explored his ideas and wizardry at having a vision which he turned into reality. His widget for medical science had taken days of time, sounded amazing and still in progress. Even more amazing was his knowledge of angling both as an angler and its politics, his vision for angling, his passion and never ending drive to do his best for angling. Angling has lost a major advocate for our sport.
    The rod building road was just as exciting; David would arrive with an armful of components and ask ‘Look I got this guy who wants to fish for ……, what you think?’ Mix & Match was the way forward, they worked, they caught fish, that was all that mattered and they didn’t fail. If one did fail and it was down to ‘angler abuse’ abuse they received – polite, to the point ‘f**king’ abuse.
    I delivered the last group of finished rods the Thursday 12th, we sat in the kitchen with the obligatory mug of tea, Maggi hovering around, David was David, thinking/talking of what next, when he confided ‘he was not afraid of dying’. David it was a privilege to have shared time with you, shared your humour, commitment, innovation, opportunities, understood that everything is possible, (some things just take a little more time) and above all else your generosity.
    If they have ‘GT’ fishing at your resting place I know you have already done the deal and booked the next trip to capture that World Record!

  50. David to me was (after the first scary sentance or two!) always kind “alright kid….”. He and Maggie put up with me living with them many years ago. For them it was an instant teenager in the house, and although there were times when he had to meet me from the tube station late, or put up with extras in the house not once did he complain (well not to me!). I do remember the fags, running round the allotments in the evenings after the cats and David getting Maggie to make “fat chips” for dinner – only Maggie’s cooking was ever good enough! David thank you for so many memories.
    Sally x

  51. I met David in 1966 at Ronson Products in Leatherhead, he was the man who strode past my desk with grim determination to sort out today’s problems. He was the assistant to the PA for the MD and had a ferocious charm which meant things got done David style. We became close friends and spent a lot of time together, laughing, drinking and smoking, running around in his old VW beetle and studying for ONC in an effort to take life seriously. One of our more serious ventures was the ‘little bleeding beauties club’ of which there were only ever two members.

    We did eventually grow up, David left Ronson’s and left me his job and I married Viv and he put a kipper on the exhaust pipe of the wedding car. When David and Maggi married, Viv and I were invited to the wedding as Best Man, Maid of Honour, Witnesses and the entire list of Guests. In typical David style no expense was spared. After the wedding we were treated to lunch in Thames Ditton, Bowling at the Ace of Spades and chauffer limo to the Il Pirata for an evening of dining and dancing. Bump starting the limo was an experience we hadn’t anticipated. A cherished memory of David and the best way to remember his friendship with much laughter and happiness. For those fishermen amongst you, we think Maggi was the best catch David ever made!

    A little known virtue was David’s tolerance of small children, at least he put up with mine when we stayed with him and Maggi in Rye. I don’t think David wanted this generally known. It was during this time that David introduced me to fishing. My introduction was to clear a swim for the afternoons match which resulted in a slip disc and bed rest. So I stuck with playing in a band and left the fishing to David. It is still a wonder to me that he persuaded me to travel with the band from Farnborough, Hants to Rye to play at the local village school for a fishing club dance. His persuasive powers also led to a car being part of the raffle, now that’s impressive.

    Then life became busy and we only met occasionally, but our friendship remained strong and it never took long to bring back the laughter whilst sorting out life’s major issues when we did meet up.

    David, we will miss you
    John and Viv

  52. What a character. I spent the last four years working with David on a project and he was undoubtedly one of the cheekiest chaps I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I loved David’s telephone manner… “Alright mush!” “Oh no, not you again – what d’you want now?” Always proud, always smiling, always joking, always helpful and always had an answer for whatever problem we encountered. I’ll especially miss the banter we shared. Rest easy mate.

  53. The first time i met dave was at an S.C.B.I. dinner years ago,whereupon he promptly said…” fuck off you colonial wanker….!”…i replied to him and his dear wife how lovely it was to meet them , and indeed how refreshing it was to meet someone ruder than me..He did prove to be one of the most repellant individuals ive ever had the misfortune to rig with..and laugh…! No….on the contrary….one of the warmest,kindest, most sicere funny unique individuals ive ever known and spent time with….a man singing from the same hymn sheet for sure….(favorite tune…”Fuck hymn..fuck hymn..”)

    An absolute honour and a pleasure to have known the legend, let alone be asked advice on fly rigging and the growing of side burns…”..zimbo…i just want to talk to you man..!!

    Hamba gashle SHAMWARI..!!
    big love
    marko zim le fluff…aka pinki..

  54. It was 1968 and I was finding my feet in the big smoke (no pun intended) and living with my big sister in a flat in Ealing Broadway. On her way home from a family wedding she met David on a railway station and they were married 3 months later – Saint David’s day – March 1st 1969. I was to tell no one. It was just the two of them and two witnesses at the Registery Office. No fuss. Needless to say I had been chucked out of the flat! BUT they were good neighbours and we would all travel to Rye with David singing at the top of his voice (Memphis Tenessee a favourite). He came into our lives in a rush and out the same way but the bit in the middle was life to the maximum – alright Kid?

  55. Hello Booker, have you got the kettle on yet? ……the voice fading into the distance as our man headed through the warehouse to the kitchen. Hello Bird I shouted after him as the door he had just tried to remove from its hinges settled back into place. This all went on mind you, irrespective of me perhaps being in a meeting or on the phone. I will always remember the jaw dropping looks of the people I was with who did not know him. You could see they wanted to ask ..…who the..…! Peter Pan, I used to respond before they completed the question. To me, that is who David was the epitome of. He never seemed to tire, never aged and never lost an amazing zest for life.
    In the most recent years this is how I most often spent time with David. Talking business, sharing a lead or two and the inevitable chat putting the world to rights and maybe, just maybe, about fishing. That was often short lived however as I was normally asked, “so, done any proper fishing recently?” – David likened waiting for a carp run to watching paint dry so we either changed the subject or moved to a subject closer to David’s heart. Talking big game was how I knew him in our early friendship. That commenced many years ago and I still fondly remember the evenings sat in his tackle room ‘playing’ with traces and lures. I still have many that we made along with various other implements of torture I apparently needed! – I will treasure them now and they will always bring back special memories.
    I even managed to fish with David on a few occasions but sadly, never in Kenya despite us talking of it many times. If ever I needed a reminder that life is too short for putting things off David’s passing has been it. I will never get the chance now and that is something I will regret for ever.
    Compared to many, I was not that close to David but even so I suddenly feel that something tangible is missing from my world. Life will go on but it won’t be quite the same anymore.
    RIP my old mate


  57. Well then you English git, ( gets you back for calling me a Scots Bastard ) suppose that is the amberjack in Kenya next year scuppered, typical.

    Would have liked to have been down at the “celebration” but I`m just back from getting a tan in Portugal, dare say you will go one better and get more of a tan today to beat me (as usual).

    Seriously I`ll miss our late night chats and worry swapping rants, who`s left to put the worlds` wrongs to right ?

    Catch you on the flip side Dave, keep a space for my in the big boat and in the meantime have a well deserved rest, customer relations will never be the same again.


  58. No-one is never actually dead whilst they are remembered, so therefore Dave’s character will certainly live on whilst us lot are still ticking on & that’s for sure – TIGHT LINES to you Dave!

  59. Well Uncle David what can i say????
    I never got the chance to go fishing with you (which was what i would’ve loved to do and learn from The Master)
    You always greeted me the same way whenever i saw you ” Hello Matey You Alright?” and ruffle my hair.
    My few memories i have of you will always be in my mind.
    The main ones would be coming to your house in Hinchley Wood and seeing Toby, Tramp and Jamie the cats (Jamie was my favourite) and when I would go into the living room and search for them in the cat tower.
    Then you would come in with a bottle of purdeys and a glass then i would don the headphones and watch TV whilst You, Dad and Maggi chatted in the kitchen.
    But christmas at your house was amazing. My first ever TV!!!!
    Setting it up at the end of the living room and watching it as you all watched the old christmas films.
    And i also remember getting a football among many other presents i ran out into the garden and started kicking it against the low wall in your garden i was out there for ages.
    Also remember you for another thing. Your Sportsman Cigarettes with the horse on the front. You would put one out and then light one up straight after that.
    We Will Never Forget You.
    An Amazing Brother and Uncle.
    All Our Love Until We Meet Again
    Love You
    Chris and Adam

  60. Sue and I have only known David for a couple of years from our visits to Hemingways but felt we had formed an immediate and special friendship. I have been so grateful for David’s expertise and guidance in catching my first marlin and sailfish – captured by his amazing photography – and memories that will be with me forever. Bacon butties and pineapple slices will never be quite the same! Sue and I will miss you.

  61. Flown away?

    My friend Dave always talked a good fish, now he’s fishing forever and certainly talking, laughing or whatever.

    Life’s a little bit darker – but he still makes me smile.

  62. I have only known Dave sadly for a few short but treasured years but i will miss him very much , my sincerest condolences to Dave’s family .

  63. David was the best President of the NFA since Major Halliday, I well remember having David on my radio show, after the interview I told my listeners Dave Bird should be your next NFA President. Dave has been a great servant to angling. Thank you David Bird Rest in Peace .

  64. I first met David at one of the Specialist Anglers Meetings near Leicester (or was it the SACG back then?)

    My original thoughts were that he was a ‘bit pushy’, but I quickly realised that he was able to bring a group of people quickly to the point, cutting out the huff and puff, and deciding on a course of action, rather than just bemoaning the way things are.

    And I remember the long drive back down from North Wales together, where David had gone to support the sea angling community in a review of byelaws for the area. We somehow managed to put the world to rights, and I found myself in company that somehow melted away the time too quickly.

    But most of all, I’ll always be grateful to David for taking the time to phone me in those last few days, to tell me that he had terminal cancer.

    A natural consequence of advancing years is that folk you have known fade away, without any opportunity for a last goodbye and one last chat.

    It was typical of David, with so much that must have been on his mind, to take the effort to do that.

    I’m just saddened that I never fished with David, but maybe I will.

  65. Thank you David for ALL you did for your mate Mike., after his terrible accident. You made the impossible,possible, and in so doing you gave him back a part of his life that he thought was lost for ever.
    I will never forget you and your fantastic kindness…so many good memories…

  66. Dave old friend, It’s the first day of a new year and I find myself missing your company more than ever. We’ve almost sorted things down here (or up here depending on where you ended up) so you can sleep easy now.

  67. Well it looks like I might be one of the last to write on Davids board and I have read through all the tributes thus far and it is so clear how loved he was and what an impact he had on everyone’s life. So just one more story about his journey.

    There are a number of threads that all came together to mark my relationship with David. Way back in the late 70’s early 80’s I bumped into David in a tackle shop. I think it might have been Davies Angling in Staines, not sure. I was introduced as the man who ran a childrens fishing charity. David was on it in a flash and so began a 30+ year friendship, that saw The Foster An Angler Charity transform into The Second Chance Children’s Charity and move from a local West London base to a national one, but this is only the first thread.

    I had a wonderful time locking swords with David and there was plenty of controversy between us that would raise the level of banter to fever pitch. I belong to the Salvation Army, I’m Tea Total, I don’t smoke, just imagine the target I presented to David!!

    I have a really good friend who is a minister in The Salvation Army, Major Nigel Bovey. He was sent to run the church in Teddington. As you do with really good friends we visited a lot and we started to get to know some of his congregation. There was a little lady that was always at everything, always doing things, making the tea, sorting the jumble, making meals, visiting the sick and elderly. A really lovely old lady that had a wicked sense of humour, would always make you laugh with her one liners, far too much energy for someone her age. I told her one day that I ran a charity that took children fishing, she immediately said you should talk to my son David, he’s big in Fishing. I should have known by who she was who she was!!!

    So now I had my secret defence weapon, David Bird was to get come his comeuppance! Courtesy of Gracie Bird.

    Not many people, except his close family, knew there was a religious side to David. David used to go to church every Sunday sometimes three times the same day! Now I hear almost everyone say ‘what David?’ I promise you Its true admittedly he was only 10 years or so old at the time!!! David went to the Salvation Army and he used to play (I think) a cornet in the young peoples band. His character of later life shone through as early as this, since he always claimed to be the youngest person ever excommunicated from The Salvation Army, having been thrown out for bringing frogs to Sunday School inside his band cap!!!

    I made life hell for David after these strings all came together. If he was ever rude to me I would have to caution him that I would be telling Gracie all about it. If I wanted him to do something I would ask Gracie to ask him first. He would swear at me and tell me I had him over a barrel. I said I would pray for him and he should cut down on the drink and cigarettes while I was at it!!!! He loved his mum so much what else could he do (as you know though not even his mother managed anything on the cigarette front!!).

    He more than got his own back on me. Anything I would write he would glean over it with a fine tooth comb to find a spelling or grammatical error and would triumphantly ring me up with the salutation “call yourself a bloody school teacher, where did you get an education?” He once introduced me to someone rich who would later become a benefactor of the charity, after watching me shake hands with him he said to him ‘now count your bloody fingers, this man is a robbing bastard’. What can you say about David? everyone remembered him!

    I read David Halls recollection of Dave and I think I played a small part in some of those events. The two Davids had become friends of mine and supporters of the charity and David Hall would stay at David Birds in Brunswick Road before a strategy meeting for the charity. The times I remember most were in the early days when I stopped teaching and went to work for the charity full time and found there wasn’t enough money to pay me at all and I had 3 children and a wife to support. David (both Davids actually) put their hands in their own pockets but more importantly went about promoting the charity. David Hall always said my big problem was I was a shrinking violet. Something that could never be said about our David! So you see we complimented each other and he was a great help to me. He dragged us through his days at the NFA, The Lead Shot debate, ATA and other spheres we benefited from and he used us to promote angling.

    In later years he decided we’d had enough of his time (or he’d had enough of us!) and he threw himself into Stoney and Friends in much the same way as he had done us. We remained good friends but the phone calls became less frequent and the meetings faded away and I am so sorry I let that happen. Life has become too busy for the important things in life, like maintaining true friendships. There is a lesson in it there for me, maybe thats the last one Daves going to teach me.

    Still he who laughs last laughs the loudest, Gracie is up there now asking him why he didn’t do more and did he really use that bad language to such a nice man as Doug?!!!!

    God bless you David from Doug and Jill Hulme. The Second Chance Children’s Charity (you said I could dave!).

  68. David

    I guess you were watching as I Christened Paddy’s stick with a first pike at Wotton yesterday. Not a very big fish but as special as any I have ever caught mate. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish you were still with us and miss you beyond belief.


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