I wonder how you will remember David Conington? Perhaps he taught you - if so, it was probably two subjects - no easy task! Perhaps he is the man who drove the white minibus with his glasses on (when he remembered them!). Or the man who had arguments with the boat trailer! Or perhaps, down on the river, you heard him talking to a crew, answering questions, never noisy, listening as well as telling. Or perhaps he helped you out in your scull, on the pontoon, with quiet words of encouragement, wise words.
Maybe he was a member of your House Team. In Nutfield, remember the house dinner, when he came dressed as a snowman, and melted, to rapt applause, and an encore; or David's House Prayers on seagulls?
There was deep regret in Nutfield, when he left to go to Hill House, where his fatherly influence and good sense have been well tested!
I know from numerous different sources that 'Pob' as they used to call him was really valued in his coaching of senior crews - his experience, the focused questions, the suggestions and above all the constant encouragement in difficult times, and victorious times. David is never brash or loud, never rude or disparaging, rarely if ever angry. He inspires respect and love from oarspeople, some of whom have gone to make it big. He loves his sport and it shows!
As a colleague, I personally really valued David. To some, he may have appeared mild and innocuous. To me, he is a patient, long-suffering man, a good listener, sensitive and gracious. I honestly never heard him say a bad word about anyone. To me, it isn't what he did that mattered - though anyone who has an inkling of what it entails, running head races and regattas and holding all the anarchic forces in the club together will know how well he did the job for seven years; no, it is what he is that makes him special - he is a quiet, humble, self-effacing, gracious man, so easy to work with - give me more such colleagues.
David leaves us to go to Cornwall - a lovely place, where he can pursue his knowledge of fish to the benefit of his new pupils. Perhaps more importantly, he will have more time with Clare, his rowing widow, and his lovely children, who have grown up with a father absent at weekends and holidays.
I know perhaps better than most how much we will miss David on the river - and ironically, on the football pitch as well! But he will be a loss to school and common room as the modest, self-effacing, likeable man that he is - a true Christian. We wish the whole family God's Speed.