Malcolm David Walker

DESIGNER, engineer and craftsman, Malcolm David Walker, who has died aged 76, had been managing director of Dalescraft Furniture, of Pudsey.

The middle of three children, he was born in Bradford, his parents, Arthur and Florence, christening him Malcolm after Malcolm Campbell the racing driver and Malcolm Sargent the musical conductor. It proved to be an inspired choice as cars, boats and music all became a part of his varied and interesting life. He was, however, always known as David.

In 1932, the year before he was born, his grandfather, Alderman George Walker JP, completed his one-year term as Lord Mayor of Bradford.

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David grew up in Thackley and went to Bronte House Prep School and then Woodhouse Grove School, in 1946 receiving a form prize from the Bishop of Ripon. A creative child, he spent his time building model aircraft, and later, restoring cars and fitting out his boats.

His was a strict Methodist family, worshipping at Eastbrooke Hall in Bradford.

After school, he joined the family business, Dalescraft Furniture in Pudsey. There was a break for National Service with the RAF and then back to Dalescraft where his talents as a designer and engineer were well suited, becoming an accomplished cabinet maker and later managing director.

Inspired by contemporary Scandinavian design, David had an eye for detail and quality, attributes the firm became known for.

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Under his leadership, it was awarded large government and MoD contracts for office furniture, as well as high-quality bespoke work including the intricate fitting out of the county courts in Leeds and the Imax Cinema in Bradford.

David married Sheila Barraclough in 1957, at Idle Congregational Church. They had first met sailing on Yeadon Dam, where she had become a willing crew in his home-made GP14 dinghy. This was the start of a shared life-long interest in making and sailing boats.

Their favourite water became Windermere, but after they moved to Poole in Dorset in 1988, they took to the open sea, with destinations in France and Spain.

David energetically put his organisational skill and love of community into local projects, never more so than when he and Sheila moved from Poole to Hamble, between Southampton and Portsmouth, in 2007. He became a member of Hamble Parish Council, and belonged to the Royal Southern Yacht Club, where a reception was held following his funeral.

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As a vigorous member of Southampton East Rotary Club, he piloted many charity money-raising schemes to successful conclusions. Indeed, an award has been set up by Rotary in his name at Hamble Secondary School which will allow annual international educational exchanges between the school and South Africa.

In typical organised fashion, David left full instructions for his funeral. In these notes he stated that: "In Yorkshire the measure of a right good funeral is scored on two factors – the quality of the hymn singing and the quality and quantity of the ham tea afterwards."

Accordingly a whole Yorkshire ham from Highside Butchers in Kirby Malzeard, was delivered for the funeral tea. David may have emigrated to the South Coast, but there was never any mistaking his Yorkshire roots.

Donations at his funeral service raised money for Fairbridge Solent, a centre for disadvantaged young people – a cause he was especially passionate about.

David Walker is survived by his wife Sheila, their four children, Susan, Jan, Andrew and Roger, and eight grandchildren.