Farewell to ‘Bearded Wonder’

David Wood is awarded with a Certificate of Appreciation by St Annes town mayor Coun Vince Settle for all he had done to support the Town Council
David Wood is awarded with a Certificate of Appreciation by St Annes town mayor Coun Vince Settle for all he had done to support the Town Council

Tributes have been paid to a prominent and dedicated members of several Fylde community organisations, who has died suddenly.

David Wood was known for his links to groups such as the Lytham St Annes Twinning Association, the Blackpool and Fylde Rail Users’ Association and the Campaign for Real Ale, while also being a long-serving crossing patrolman in the town.

A former postman, he was a membetr of the Roman Catholic order the Knights of St Columba and a keen charity fund-raiser, often having his beard shaved to generate sponsorship cash after sporting it through the winter and dressing up as Father Christmas at a variety of events, including several St Annes festive lights switch-on ceremonies.

Thought to be in his 70s, David died on a trip to a museum in the Midlands.

Tribute was paid to him at this week’s Meeting of St Annes Town Council, where he has been a regular attender in the public gallery. Last September, he was presented with a certificate of appreciation for all he had done to support the town council, while he was also a member of the Lytham St Annes Twinning Association, and was among those who travelled to the German twin town of Werne with a party from Fylde last autumn.

Tony Ford, a member of Fylde and St Annes Town Council’s who is also chairman of the Twinning Association, said: “As well as being a colourful member of the Twinning Association, David was a very good friend of the Town Council and supported much of its work.

“Only recently he donated a clock to the Town Council to commemorate the link that Sir Nigel Gresley of Flying Scotsman fame had with the town. Sir Nigel married a St Anne’s girl at the Parish church.”

Arnold Sumner, co-ordinator of St Annes Chamber of Trade, knew David for many years and said:

“I called him the Bearded Wonder - and what a character he was. He was involved with so many organisations and really cared about the future of St Annes and how to make it a better place to live and or visitors.

“As long-serving ‘lollipop’ man on St Thomas Road, he really cared about road safety and was a big advocate of the need to wear bright colours to be seen in the dark.

“He came along to Chamber of Trade meetings to talk about matters concerning transport and he could always been seen at PACT (Police and Community Together) meetings talking about community matters.

“He was a popular figure at all sorts of community events, could always been seen at town council meetings and annually had his beard shaved off to raise money for a variety of charities.

“Practically every time I saw him, the first thing he said to me was: ‘I have a question’, and he was always thinking about the welfare of the town.

“I will really miss him.”

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.