David Watson Metcalf, who was known throughout Keswick for his Christian views, has died of cancer, aged 78.
He was known by his family and many friends as a man of integrity and humour, a can-do person and a gentleman to the core.
David was at least the third generation of the Metcalf family born in the town.
He went to Brigham School and then on to Keswick Grammar School before studying education science at Bede College, Durham, gaining a diploma in physics.
After college, David became a physics teacher, first at Whitehaven Grammar School for eight years before moving to Wigton’s Nelson Thomlinson School where he served for 25 years.
He headed up the Christian Union at Whitehaven and taught religious education for a small part of his time at both schools, being nicknamed “Jesus” during his time at Wigton, such was his openness about his religious beliefs.
As well as teaching, David spent many years working with young people in the town running youth club’s as Betheseda Sunday School, the Boys Club, and a Crusaders football group.
His faith was a very important part of his life, having grown up as a member of the Tithe Barn Street Methodist Chapel in Keswick. Latterly he was a member of King’s Church in the town.
David retired at 52 and although he continued with some supply teaching his heart was in his Christian outreach work.
One very significant initiative, which was to last for 13 years, was his involvement as a volunteer with Operation Christmas Child, part of the international relief organisation Samaritan’s Purse.
David and his wife Doreen headed up a team of more than 30, which checked and processed the Christmas shoeboxes of gifts sent to under-privileged children across the world each year.
He was known around the country for his Christian outreach sketchboard work.
For more than 25 years he would set up his sketchboard in Keswick’s Market Square and on the shores of Derwentwater and preach.
David was also a passionate fell walker, and completed all 214 Wainwrights – many of them on several occasions.
He also loved to swim in Derwentwater and still took a dip with his family on a number of occasions recently.
David married Doreen in 1966 at Betheseda Chapel in Keswick on Boxing Day in 1966, although the couple had known each other for 60 years.
Doreen said: “David was a dedicated family man and was a wonderful husband, a loving dad to Julia and caring ‘grandfer’ to Esther, Riley, Hope, and Cora.
“David and I would read the Bible and pray together and these were precious times for both of us and held us close to each other and the Lord. we did so again just 30 minutes before he died.”
A service of thanksgiving was held on Monday, limited to 30 people, but it was live streamed with more than 150 people watching.
The link is at https://evt.live/davidmetcalf