An interview with David Sawyer

David Sawyer

David’s parents arrived in Sussex in the late 1930s. His father’s then took up the position of chief electrical engineer at the St Dunstans rehabilitation centre in Ovingdean. David attended St Martha’s Convent when he was younger; he then attended Rottingdean Village school on Nevill Road. Coming to Brighton would be very exciting for David as it was a special treat for him and his siblings as a day out before he moved to Kemptown.
When he was younger David was very keen to work, he became the youngest paperboy in Kemptown, delivering papers morning and evening. One day whilst delivering papers to a house on Abbey road he saw a little girl around age five fall over as she ran to greet him, he helped her up straight away and took her to her mother inside. After a few weeks he found out she had been diagnosed with polio, once he found out he started visiting her in hospital whenever he could.
The paper round also took him past the Hamilton Lodge school for deaf children. He came across another young girl who he had seen fall so he rushed over to help her up. She wasn’t able to speak and he didn’t know sign language but the young girl was obviously distressed. David took the girl to the matron’s house on the corner. A few days later he saw the girl again, she rushed over to him and shook his hand to say thank you. David was so moved by it that he decided that one day he would help the school.
In the 1960s David started training to become an accountant. Sadly accounting didn’t go to plan for him, he says he “didn’t do too well in the exams” so he changed to commercial bookkeeping. He then started working at American Express in Brighton. Close to his office building there was a social club he attended that also did charity fundraisers. David became the charities secretary. He would organise charity events for them. He distinctly remembers one event he organised for them which was a sponsored run and ride from Lands End to John O’Groats and back on foot and motorcycle. David made an estimate that roughly £29,000 was made whilst he was doing work for them. A great moment for David was when he raised £4,000 for Hamilton Lodge School, he was able to supply new radio hearing aids for every child in the school fulfilling his promise to himself to help the school however he could.
In the mid 1990’s David started volunteering for Roots and Shoots a charity providing education and training for young people in South London. He has been a Brighton Lion for many years and takes a Brighton school on an annual summer trip to Drusilla’s zoo. David also takes a different school each year to the pantomime at Worthing Pavilion Theatre in December.
The Pavilion Gardens Cafe holds good memories for David as it was here he would meet for lunch and tea with his future wife in the early 1960’s. He still visits the cafe almost on a daily basis and enjoys being here just as much as when he first started coming.