Posts Tagged ‘David Tomlinson’

David John Tomlinson was born less than a kilometre from here in Mothers Hospital on Saturday 25 March 1964 where he became ‘little David’ to Paul and I who at that time were already nearly 5 and nearly 2 respectively…

When you get a label like ‘little’ within a family, it sticks with you and I seem to have viewed David with this ‘little David’ label throughout our carefree childhood.

Paul was too quick to catch so Mum and Dad gave me the ‘looking after little David duties’ and he became my virtual shadow as we grew up in what was then a rapidly developing area of Glenmore.

We attended a new community Church called Stella Presbyterian, first of all meeting in the old scout hut building and then moving to a purpose built little Church which still stands in a much larger building format today.

Our sister Jill was born six years later, much to David’s disappointment at the time (he really wanted a little brother to play with). Mum’s hands were so full with Jill, we were given a rare freedom as children to explore as widely as we wanted, provided we were always home for bath time.

We developed a wide circle of friends playing in the park along Fielden Drive and making camps in the bushes between Alton Road and Wanless Road and also exploring the wilds of the bushes behind Bobby’s house in Grosvenor Road. We enjoyed skateboarding together and the summers literally lasted forever…

As our boyhood friend Robbie Jennings wrote in an e-mail when he heard of the accident, “they were carefree days” and “David’s passing has somehow torn a hole in the fabric of my life”. I feel exactly the same!

In the battle for pecking order which young boys go through, David used to get involved in various scraps which I inevitably had to fight for him as he was too small… It was a respectable way to look after a little brother…

David and I shared a bedroom for around 17 years in total and we shared a lot more of life, then and in the years that followed.  We were confirmed into the Church standing next to one another when I was 16 and David was just 14. We had a wonderfully supportive group of friends who never forgot us, nor we them.

The only good thing the SADF ever did, from my point of view, was to call Paul up to army, as David and I then finally got our own bedrooms for a period! Paul returned from army in 1978 and David and I were back in one room again for another couple of years, until Paul & Helen got married.

In 1980 I went off to study in the States and when I returned a year later, our good friend Ron Mattig took me aside and gave me some valuable words of advice which I thank him for. He told me how David had stepped out of my shadow during the year I was away and that he was no longer ‘little David’ – he had become an equal member of our circle of friends known as the goat and our friend Ron insisted I respect him for that. Interestingly no-one ever explained to me why they started calling my little brother ‘the goat’ and I showed respect by never asking.

David and I still did many things together, particularly when I got my first car, but things were never the same – he’d grown up and now had his own motorbike, he was no longer ‘little David’ – such is life…

I studied at Technikon, while David went off to army in 1982 – he had a pretty lousy time in Pretoria before being transferred down to Natal Command where he worked as camp photographer on their news editorial team. This was probably the genesis of his love for photography & his advocacy of the Nikon brand.

Upon leaving the army, he worked as a camera man filming sports events and training videos, while driving his beloved Puma sports car. We would still end up at Ron Mattig’s house most weekends with our childhood friends, John, Miles, Bobby, Eric, Charl, Marcus, Remy, Paula and Trish Stewart & the list goes on.

David met Allison Krok in 1986 when he was working in Durban overseeing one of our Dad’s interests and Allison was working at Indigo. He was completely smitten by her and I recall his answer to my question of “what’s she like?” was “she’s a free spirit Neil – she’s different to your girlfriends and I don’t care what you think because she’s mine.”

That was David for those who knew him; never afraid to hold an opinion and never backward at volunteering his forthright views on whoever he was talking to. He wasn’t always right, but he certainly always believed he was…

David completely adored Allison and they were married on 26 August 1989. They had a successful marriage and have proven to be good parents, spending time ensuring their children’s education was paramount in their lives, giving them their best prospects for the future.

 David loved his 2 children; his beautiful daughter Jade, born on 13 December 1990 was the apple of his eye and he was very proud of his smiling son Mark, born on 17th August 1992. When David, Allison, Jade and Mark came to England on holiday in 1996, Allison was still David’s Alley Cat and Jade was very much his special girl. Mark just smiled.

David got into the Round Table movement in 1996, courtesy of his dear friend Geoff Burgess and we know he loved the fellowship he found in Tabling life. Geoff tells how he was enthusiastic from the beginning and was highly respected by his fellow Tabler’s, becoming Chair of the Wandsbeck council in 2000. He travelled internationally as a Round Table representative and stayed with me when he travelled to the UK as a guest of Gravesend Round Table in Kent.

David worked hard at whatever he did, applying his considerable eye for technical detail to analysing how things worked – everything he owned and worked with – it was never enough to read the instruction manual – he needed to research it thoroughly and then take it apart to ensure it was built properly and that he would understand it. To his family, he was always the gadget man…

When I finally got married in England to my wife Alison Tomlinson the 2nd (as David called her), David flew over for my wedding and was typically behind the camera from the moment he arrived. Alas I have no photos of David on my wedding day, because he was taking all the photos.

My Ali and I had the pleasure of staying in Mum’s apartment with David and Allison when we came over for a visit in December 2003. It was a privilege to meet his family properly and their circle of friends at that time. I’m eternally grateful for that wonderful Christmas we had at Paul and Helen’s as a family.

As has become a near tradition, David and Allison, Mark, Jade and Jasyn spent their last Christmas day together at Paul and Helen’s in Kloof and it was a good day! It was a BIG birthday for Helen, so there were more people there than usual and as was typical of David, he was the man behind the camera. Fortunately, this fact was noticed on this particular Christmas day, which was destined to be his and Jade’s last, and we are fortunate to have a few photos which include David this year, taken by Paul’s good friend Keith.

For me and many others gathered here, the world stopped for a period on Boxing day 2010 when this terrible tragedy unfolded. That a car crash should ruin a well planned family holiday is bad enough; that it should claim the lives of David and Jade seems plain wrong…  That 3 people survived the terrible crash, is a tribute to David’s evasive action as a driver and deeply ironic how he most certainly saved the life of the idiot driver who took theirs.

Paul and I had cause to repair Paul’s lawnmower on New Year’s day just passed, and we both expressed how David would know what was wrong and he would have been able to help fix what took us a few hours in considerably less time…

I’m sure there will be many more such moments for many more of David’s friends and family who knew and loved him. Our Mum had been storing up jobs for him to complete when he returned to England with her in April – alas this was not to be and the burden of fixing things now falls on people less qualified and capable like Jill’s husband Rob and myself.

The grief comes crashing in like waves which grab my gut and twist it till it hurts, burning my eyes and throat with tears that stop flowing, only to come back when I’m least expecting them.

It will be like this for a while…

But we can shed tears that they are gone, or we can smile because they have lived.

We can close our eyes and pray they will come back;  or we can open our eyes and see all they left behind.

Our hearts can be empty because we cannot see them;  or we can be full of the love we shared together.

We can turn our back on tomorrow and live yesterday…  or we can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

We can remember them and only that they have gone;  or we can cherish their memories and let them live on…

We can cry and close our minds, be empty and turn our backs… or we can do what they would have wanted us to do… 

We can smile, we can open our eyes, we can love and we can go on.

I pray we will all think and speak openly of David and Jade in the months and years ahead… 

That way they will live on in our memories and our hearts as we wish they did in our lives.

God Bless you both David and Jade…  May you rest in peace!

Neil Tomlinson
5 January 2011
Durban Botanical Gardens


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