Death of David Frith: he inspired Whaley Bridge to enjoy the great walking and history all around us

David Frith, who has died of lymphoma at the age of 63, brought pleasure and pride to so many people in Whaley Bridge over the years.  Pleasure because he inspired many to take up walking, and pride in the traditions and history of Whaley Bridge and the Peak District which he brought vividly to life.

David Frith leads the Sunday Strollers. This picture appeared on the front of the town guide for 2010.

David Frith leads the Sunday Strollers. This picture appeared on the front of the town guide for 2010.

He gave talks, illustrated by his wonderful photographs, to almost every social and cultural organisation. He had a leading role in the creation of the Whaley Bridge parish paths map, the ‘bible’ for walkers in this area..  And he dug out history stories from the area – industry, railways, canals, work and social history, architecture – that provided a background for other fascinating talks.

At David’s memorial service, his beloved Uniting Church was packed.  Minister the Rev Keith Sandow spoke movingly – and upliftingly – of David: “His philosophy was to enjoy working for a living, but don’t live to work.”

David Frith walking past St James’, Taxal. He led walks at heritage weekends, bringing the party back for tea.

David Frith walking past St James’, Taxal. He led walks at heritage weekends, bringing the party back for tea.

David was awarded Whaley Bridge Town Council’s annual community awards in 2015 for ’his work with Uniting Church activities and services to local public rights of way.’

Cllr Martin Thomas, chairman of the council, said:  “When I first met David I was immediately impressed with the kind way in which he addressed me. He had an unparalleled knowledge of the history of the town and the surrounding area. I recall going on a walk with him up to see the Roosdyche, my first visit there, and it was an unforgettable walk. At every bend in the path David pointed out something I might not have observed before.

“The Town Council wish to recognise the exceptional contribution which David gave to the community in his many roles over the years, in his interesting career and vocations. His contribution to the establishment and maintenance of our rights of way in particular is greatly appreciated.”

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To read a full report of the Rev Sandow’s tribute, follow the link here

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