The Sycamore Bench

The sycamore bench below the gentle path to the west of the bridge remembers Dave Johnson, BWT's first Project Manager.

Dave Johnson (centre) with his collegues Jeff Winn and Dave Ward, had a long and successful career as a project engineer, and put his experience to good use, joining BWT’s Management Committee when the Trust had been in existence for three years. He was at the heart of projects and maintenance, and one reason that so many  volunteers joined the team.

His professional skills and experience, together with his amazing “can do” attitude were an inspiration to us all.  Dave established the three mornings-per-week work programme. He led the team of over 20 regular volunteers by example, and also taught many of the volunteers to use the equipment and to keep safe working practices for power tools. He also put in place the systems which enabled BWT to gain the Green Flag award for well managed public green spaces.

In addition to devoting time to regular maintenance, he spent a great deal of time on the management of major projects, starting with the Lilk Bridge and paths leading to it, then the tractor barn, and the hedge around Pauline Moore’s land. Dave’s dogged determination and considerable professional expertise played a big part in making it all happen in a way which was beneficial to BWT and its members.

Dave was also an active member of the Tennis Club: he served on the Management Committee for several years; a stint on the social committee; was Chairman 1993-1995; Maintenance Team Leader 2000-2004; and President 2010-2013. A lover of the outdoor life, Dave, with help from his wife Pauline led the club’s New Year’s Day Walk for many years... a popular event for all.

Dave died in November 2013, following lengthy treatment for a brain tumour, and Holy Cross was full to celebrate his life.

At BWT we miss Dave’s self-effacing humour, his energy, and his fund of new ideas; he believed we should work hard but celebrate success. The sycamore bench in the glade overlooking the Lilk Valley is a fitting memorial for Dave and a lovely place for Pauline and the family to reflect. As Dave often said: “why would you want to be anywhere else...”

It is a tribute to Dave’s leadership that the team he created has continued to perform without him to the high standards that he established. For many, he is still there with us, and if we have a problem, we ask ourselves “now what would Dave have done...”