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Porthleven bench in David's memory
10:00am Saturday 22nd September 2012 in Cornwall
A bench in memory of a familiar figure in Porthleven is due to be in unveiled within the next two weeks. David Allen, who lived at Claremont Terrace and died in December last year, could often be spotted on his blue scooter visiting the port’s shops and markets.
He and his family first came to Porthleven in 1975 and he enjoyed it so much that he decided the following year to buy the property on Breagside as a holiday home, with the aim of spending the rest of his days there when he retired. Following his retirement in 1998 – the same year he was appointed an MBE for his work in education over nearly four decades – David and his second wife Arlene moved full time to Porthleven.
Sadly David suffered a severe stroke in 2000 that saw him spend two weeks in the West Cornwall Hospital and nine weeks convalescing at Helston Community Hospital. He always attributed the care and nursing he received there for restoring him to a sufficient level of fitness and mobility that meant he could continue enjoying his retirement. David returned to the hospital every year to support its summer fete, to show his gratitude and appreciation.
Over the next five years his good friend Peter Hichens carried out the work on the house and choosing new furniture and furnishings proved to be a good therapy for David, as he learned to write, talk and walk again.
In 2005, when he made his will, David was given permission from the town council to have a seat dedicated to his memory.
This will be sited at the top of Institute Hill and should be in place before the end of the month.
David is survived by his wife Arlene, daughter Lynsay and son-in-law Jeremy, former wife Iris and brother Norman. His first grandchild, Hana, was born in February – sadly too late to meet David.
Arlene has thanked the friends and neighbours who wrote to her when David died, adding that they showed her “such kindness and support” since she returned to Porthleven in June, following a time away. David was a teacher for 17 years in Northern Ireland before being appointed General Secretary of the Ulster Teachers’ Union in 1978. He was at the helm through the most troubled times in Northern Ireland and was a key figure in maintaining educational standards over his 20 years in office. His pupils called him “the man who made a difference” and the press dubbed him “the Children’s Champion”.
He was elected to Ballymena Borough Council in 1973 and represented teachers on the North Eastern Education Board and six other boards of governors.