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‘He could turn his hand to anything’ - Tributes paid to stalwart of town’s Scouts and church

PUBLISHED: 13:17 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 19:06 05 March 2019

David Webster, in uniform as assistant Cub leader of the 1st Dereham Scout group in 2007.
Picture: IAN BURT

David Webster, in uniform as assistant Cub leader of the 1st Dereham Scout group in 2007. Picture: IAN BURT

Archant © 2007

A popular family man who was always ready to help and could turn his many talents to almost anything.

David Webster, centre, with St Nicholas' chuch's Websters team of cleaners, affectionately called The Holy Dusters. Picture: supplied by Evelyn SpeedDavid Webster, centre, with St Nicholas' chuch's Websters team of cleaners, affectionately called The Holy Dusters. Picture: supplied by Evelyn Speed

That is how David Webster, of Dereham, will be remembered by the many people who’s lives he touched.

Mr Webster, who lived his whole life in the town, died last week aged 80.

His widow, Claudette, said; “He will be very much missed in the community. He could always turn his hand to anything.”

Mr Webster was involved with the 1st Dereham Scouts throughout his life, serving as a Scouts and Cub leader and assistant district commissioner. He was given the Scouts’ highest award, the Silver Wolf.

David Webster, second from right, with fellow bellringers at Dereham's St Nicholas Church in 2011. Picture: Denise Bradley.David Webster, second from right, with fellow bellringers at Dereham's St Nicholas Church in 2011. Picture: Denise Bradley.

Mrs Webster said: “He joined when he was eight - it was his life.”

Mr Webster worked at Dereham’s Crane Fruehof plant as a machinist for his whole career, except for two years in the National Service, finishing as a lance corporal.

He met Claudette through Scouts - she was a Guides leader - and they married in 1963. They had two sons, Paul, 48, and Mark, 46, and they both now have two children each.

Mrs Webster said: “Above all he was a family man. He loved nothing more than taking his kids down to the rec to play cricket.”

David Webster, second from right, on a Scouts troop camp at Wolferton in 1953. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYDavid Webster, second from right, on a Scouts troop camp at Wolferton in 1953. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

For the past 10 years, he was verger at the town’s parish church, St Nicholas.

Rector, Rev Sally Theakston, said Mr Webster helped organise and run virtually every wedding, funeral and large service at the church.

She said: “He was a very positive person, and was always quick to lend a hand. He was multitalented - he was a bell ringer in our tower, he could play guitar to accompany songs at services and he was quite artistic.

“He made wonderful backdrops for our Messy Church mornings. He was also particularly helpful with our many school services, and he was always up for anything to contribute to the life of our church.

“He had lots of different interests and he will be hugely missed.”

Mrs Webster said the town council twice gave him awards for his contribution to the community, and Rotary also honoured him for his services to the Scouts.

Matthew Burrell, the Scouts’ Norfolk county commissioner, said: “I know that David will be missed by many not just in his home group, 1st Dereham, the wider community in the town that he played an active part but also his district, central Norfolk and our whole county.

“Possessing so many talents and so much knowledge David was an inspiration and teacher to so many young people and his peers alike, it would be impossible to know exactly how many Scouting members past and present have had their adventures made possible by David’s direct or indirect support.

“There is a big hole in our Scouting community now that David has ‘gone home’, but he will be fondly remembered by so many of us.”

Mr Webster’s funeral will be on Friday, March 22 at 2.30pm, at St Nicholas Church.

MORE: Popular verger retires from Norfolk church, aged 80.

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