Warm tributes to popular sailor and founding member of Fakenham Rugby Club

A founding member of Fakenham Rugby Club and avid sailor who died last month will be remembered for his positive attitude, caring nature and love of a joke.

That was the view expressed by the widow and the son of David Swift who lost an 18-month battle with acute myeloid leukaemia and has died at the age of 60.

Mr Swift, of The Green, Hempton, is well-known in the Fakenham and Wells area due to his numerous interests and the many organisations that he was involved with.

A lover of the great outdoors, Mr Swift enjoyed sailing and was a member of Coastwatch in Wells.

He used to go into schools to give talks about nature and to help children make bird boxes.

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He has been a member of Hempton Parish Council, has helped to run a youth club at Fakenham Baptist Church and he helped out with Fakenham Scouts shortly after he moved to the Fakenham area, aged 18.

He was a founding member of Fakenham Rugby Club when the club was established in 1982.

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He played for the club as a prop forward and has been captain, chairman and a committee member.

Mr Swift was heavily involved with youth and mini rugby at Fakenham Rugby Club.

Joy Swift, 60, who was married to Mr Swift for 36 years, said: 'Fakenham Rugby Club was a big part of his life. He was very passionate about rugby and very keen to make Fakenham Rugby Club the family club that it is today.'

Mr Swift's son Ben, 32, also played for the club.

Mr Swift was born in Red Hill, Surrey in 1951. He moved to Horsham and started a career as a printer.

He moved to Fakenham to continue his apprenticeship and worked at Cox and Wyman until its closure in the 1970s.

In 1979 Mr Swift set up a print company, called Colour Print, with his friend John Matthews, which they ran for 13 years.

Mr Swift then moved to Jarrold Publishing in Norwich before deciding on a career change and becoming a care worker for people with learning disabilities.

Ben Swift said that his father found this to be the most satisfying job of his life.

Mr Swift died at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn on February 3.

His funeral was held at Fakenham Parish Church on February 14 and it is estimated that more than 400 people attended.

Mrs Swift said: 'David's friendship extended to so many people and my life with his was never dull.

'He loved the peacefulness of sailing up at Wells. He would occasionally spend a night up there and would take wonderful pictures of Wells how people would not usually see it.

'He was a family man and a real Fakenham character. Almost every conversation with David ended with a joke.

'He put a positive on every situation and that helped all of us cope through his illness.

'If he had been looking down on the funeral I'm sure he would have said to himself, 'well that was a good turnout, got to be happy with that.''

Mr Swift also leaves behind a daughter Sonya Baldock, 33, and four grandchildren, Cameron, nine, Harriett, seven, Ellen, four and Joel, two.

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