This week, David Chapman, from the Rotary Club of West Worthing, pays tribute to a former Rotarian.
Rotary has lost one of it’s most dedicated members in the passing away of Rotarian David Langley.
His life obviously touched many judging by the 250-plus people who attended his recent funeral.
What made his passing the more poignant is the fact that right up to the end he was a very active man with a loving family and was deeply involved in Rotary and the community.
He was still taking a full part in Rotary activities until a couple of weeks before his death, even though he was ill.
He had been the President of West Worthing Rotary Club until July of this year and had the distinction that his father, Maurice Langley, had been one of the founding members of the West Worthing Rotary Club in 1952.
David was born on August 24, 1939, and became a successful professional accountant.
It was said that he was born to be an accountant with a keen eye for numbers and deals.
He had a distinguished career with Deloitte, one of the major London firms, and later with the well known local firm Spofforths.
He was very much a family man. He met Janice in June 1967, and they married on the October 12, 1968, at St Peter’s Church, Hove. They celebrated their ruby wedding anniversary in 2008.
They had three children, Emma, born 1970, Sue, 1972, and Rob, 1975.
David was always a very proud father. He very much enjoyed seeing them all grow up and prosper with Rob getting married in 2009, Sue’s wedding in 2011, and Emma getting engaged on her birthday this year, being particular highlights.
Since November 2009, David took on another new role in his life; being a grandpa.
He loved spending time with his four grandchildren seeing them grow and evolve and sharing in their lives.
But we in Rotary know him well from his social and community life.
Although a sound provider for his family, he sought to share his good fortune in life through a very active input into the community.
David was renowned for his generosity and charity work.
He was always a very enthusiastic and active Rotary member.
He helped found the Storrington Rotary Club in 1980 and later, when he moved to Worthing, he joined his father’s West Worthing club.
He became district governor in 2006/7, organising his regional conference and visiting many clubs in the area.
In addition to his support of such charities as Impact, which led him to visit Bangladesh and India, to see the Magic Train which provides cataract operations in the local communities, David was also instrumental in the establishment of the Martlets Hospice in Hove.
David was a founder director, helping to secure land and finance for the project which merged Coppercliff, Tarner and MacMillan hospices, and led to a sustainable charity and new build on Wayfield Avenue, Hove.
Fellow Rotarian Sue Worthington, who knew David for much of his Rotary life, said: “The social activities were quite something else with progressive dinners, Christmas parties and barbecues of course, all in the name of raising money for charity.
“We all had an amazing time when we think back on it now – they were fun days. I am proud of how far we have come and I know David would be too.”
Indeed, his list of other achievements is equally impressive.
David has been a school governor, a hospital governor, and a WI supporting husband for 45 years.
He has supported the Beacon Hospice, and been on a number of committees organising village days, carnivals and has stood on many street corners, bucket in hand, collecting for others less fortunate than himself.
Even when he retired from Spofforths accountants in 2000, he then went straight out to work again, as a director of ‘Families for Children’.
David was a warm, generous and gregarious man.
He was known for his parties and social gatherings that cemented the friendships of his social groups and facilitated much of his community work.
David and Janice were always such welcoming hosts, even though David used to report with a mixture of horror and admiration on the morning after, exactly how many bottles of wine had been drunk.
David was clearly a happy family man, but much of his pleasure in life came through his association and pride at being a Rotarian, from the service to the community and the shared social life he found in Rotary.
David was an outstanding person and an outstanding Rotarian and lived a life to be celebrated, but he will be sadly missed by his family, friends and Rotarians alike.
Details of Worthing’s three Rotary clubs are:
• Worthing Rotary Club meets Monday, 12.55pm, at the Chatsworth Hotel, in The Steyne, Worthing, 01903 262222.
• West Worthing Rotary Club meets Tuesday evening at Tudor Close, Ferring, 01903 501961.
• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets Monday evening at The Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 01903 234957.
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