In Memoriam

David Fry - A Very Special Friend
I first met David in 1961 when we both arrived as new 11 year old pupils at Hele's School in Exeter. We then spent the next 6 years together in the same classes and going on to study for the same scientific A Levels at the top of the School. These were our formative years when we grew from little boys into young men! Throughout this time I valued my friendship with David enormously. He always seemed to be a beacon of common sense and measured behaviour and was invariably a thoroughly positive influence on his many school friends. It came as no surprise to us all when he sailed through his exams and secured a much sought after place at University. During the latter part of this time I was working as a surf lifeguard on our local beach with David's brother Peter and I ended up sleeping on the sofa at their parents house when my family moved to Berkshire. We all got on extremely well and I really appreciated the hospitality offered so willingly by David and Peter's parents. It was easy to see from where David's personality came!

I confess that I was rather surprised when, having graduated from University, David took off for the United States of America, and even more surprised to hear that he was working in Los Angeles selling yachts in the Marina. I think that we had all assumed that he would move straight into some high priced job in industry. I sensed the influence of Peter in this development! 
Mike & David Fry The move to California, however, turned out to be the best decision that David
could have made as it meant that he met Jeffi, the love of his life. He was incredibly proud of Jeffi and of Ian and Kathy and was always so keen to tell us of their exploits and achievements.

I was so pleased when my military career took me regularly to the United States, including to California, as it gave me the opportunity to meet Jeffi and Ian and Kathy and to appreciate why he had such pride in his family. One of the highlights of our trips to California was the time when David took Valerie and me down into Mexico for a long weekend. It was on this occasion that we saw the ship Titanic which, unbeknown to us at this time, was to be used in the making of the famous film. Valerie and I were also very pleased to welcome David and Jeffi to Europe at this time. They came to see us in Germany and attended a Ball in the Officers' Mess. We were also really pleased to welcome David to our daughter Lucinda's wedding at the Royal Memorial Chapel at Sandhurst. He joined us for dinner on the evening before the wedding together with Valerie and our other children and their wives and girlfriends and was present when Lucinda memorably danced on the dinner table during the Passing of the Port! Without doubt the highlight of David and Jeffi's trips to the UK was the reception at the Banqueting House in Whitehall when I was able to present David and Jeffi to Her Majesty The Queen. She was so pleased to be told that David and Jeffi had come all the way from California to be there and was genuinely interested to hear about life in Los Angeles. Needless to say, David took it all in his stride.

David's many friends in the UK were so pleased, and not at all surprised, to hear of his successful business activities. They were equally saddened to learn that David had been affected by Parkinson's Disease. What was remarkable, but entirely predictable to those that knew him, was the way that David coped with the Disease. Many of us were very happy to support his fund raising endeavours as he fought the symptoms of his debilitating condition. I think that we all admired his resilience and, of course, the terrific support provided by Jeffi, Ian and Kathy. It was extremely distressing when we were no longer able to speak to David on the phone as his condition worsened as we all wanted to tell him how much we admired the way that he was handling his condition. Needless to say it was a great shock to learn of his passing on his 64th Birthday and his many former School friends in the Old Heleans' Society join with me in paying tribute to this very special man and someone that we will never forget.

God Bless you David.

Your Friend,

Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Ridgway KBE CB