I don’t want to dwell on the seventeen months following Dave’s collapse at work through to his death from a GBM at the end of March 2012. The things he went through during that time are well documented on pages of other supporters and will be familiar to those who have had any direct experience of dealing with someone suffering from a brain tumour. Instead I want to focus on Dave and explain why I’ve set a fund up in his name.
My husband, David William Parry was born in Lancashire in 1948 and after early years in the RAF, went as a mature student to Sussex University and Linacre College, Oxford, where he rowed for the college, served as President of the Common Room and developed a keen interest in military history. This led to his job as a curator in the Imperial War Museum’s photographic archive where he worked until his death. You may have seen him on TV – once talking to David Jason about the Battle of Britain, and once with Feargal Keane discussing (Dave’s speciality) aerial photographic evidence of World War I battle sites. Fittingly, his last years were spent revealing the importance of a unique set of glass plate negatives of Air Ministry aerial reconnaissance photographs from the First World War, informally known as the ‘Box Collection’ and which the Imperial War Museum has renamed ‘The Dave Parry Collection’ in recognition of his work on this valuable resource.
“Dave and I lived a full and happy life for the thirty years we were together. We tackled his illness as a team and refused to accept the inevitable until it was unavoidable. Our mantra was ‘one day at a time’ and I know we both felt that some good had to come out of even the most dire circumstances we found ourselves in. This is why I am now doing all I can to support The Brain Tumour Charity”
Although he loved his work, Dave’s main passion was for music of all kinds and while he could talk knowledgeably on jazz, country, rock, early music, classical and more, his real love was traditional English music. He became a morris dancer with teams in Sussex and Oxfordshire and had a good voice, singing in various groups in folk clubs as well as with a number of choirs. However, his paramount skill was in playing the melodeon, at which he excelled. His playing wasn’t flashy, but he had a fantastically rhythmic way of playing while also providing really inventive harmonic fills producing a sound which was absolutely central to that of Geckoes, the barn dance band he played with on the Oxfordshire dance hall circuit for 25 years. Watch a video of the Geckoes..
Whatever he did and wherever he went, Dave was welcomed. He had such a generous spirit and outgoing, cheerful personality. He was full of fun and humour, seeing the best in people and consequently bringing out the best in people. He always considered the comfort and concerns of others before his own. He was a GENTLEman, extraordinarily gifted and a joy to be with, always ready with his big happy smile, even in the last few weeks when he knew he was dying. He never complained about his misfortune in becoming ill and throughout his illness his only concern was any inconvenience he might be causing other people, especially me and others caring for him. His friends will know that this was typical of the man.
Dave and I lived a full and happy life for the thirty years we were together. We tackled his illness as a team and refused to accept the inevitable until it was unavoidable. Our mantra was ‘one day at a time’ and I know we both felt that some good had to come out of even the most dire circumstances we found ourselves in. This is why I am now doing all I can to support The Brain Tumour Charity by acting as a volunteer and also fundraising in Dave’s name in the hope that my efforts will contribute in some small way to finding an effective treatment for this most awful of diseases.
In Dave’s memory I’m carrying out lots of fund raising activities, including opening my garden, holding a barn dance and climbing the three highest peaks in the High Atlas Mountains. Thanks to wonderful support and donations from many generous friends and family.