Saturday, 25 September 2021

David Tapp, February 26, 1930-February 12, 2015

DAVID TAPP died peacefully in his sleep at home after a brief illness.

DAVID TAPP died peacefully in his sleep at home after a brief illness.

He was an indomitable personality who was rarely at rest, with a ready cheeky smile.

David was born in Chelmsford in 1930, where he attended King Edward VI Grammar School. After school he studied architecture while working at the county architect?s office at Essex County Council.

It was there that he met and fell in love with Irene Smith and they were married in 1954.

David qualified as an architect in 1955 and soon after he joined the Royal Engineers for his National Service. He was posted to Cyprus during the EOKA conflict where he met Derek Humphries. They formed a close friendship and continued to raise hell together until David?s death.

After National Service, David moved to Collisters in London where in 1959 he designed the first TV studio in Nigeria at Ibadan and spent some time out there during its construction.

In 1958 David and Irene?s daughter Alison was born. Their son Christopher followed in 1961 when the family moved to Henley and were among the first families to move into the new Hunter?s Ride estate.

David worked at Maurice Day?s office in Henley where he met and became good friends with Maurice Tate.

Through Irene?s keen interest in amateur dramatics, David became involved with the Henley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society and when in 1964 the Kenton Theatre was closed he took on designing and managing the restoration.

In 1967 David designed and built a new house for the family in Hop Gardens. This was an example of an innovative timber frame system that he had developed alongside Fredericks Timber.

He had designed a house for the Ideal Home Exhibition in 1972 using the same system and completed several other houses using this system around the Henley area.

In 1969 David left Maurice Day?s company and set up on his own, working from home with Irene as his trusty secretary.

One of David?s first jobs came from a call from a Mr Harrison at the Apple Corp. in London and led to several years working alongside George on his restoration of Friar Park.

Even after many years in architecture this was to remain the project of which he was most proud.

David?s practice grew steadily and he moved to offices in Bell Street and then to Pack & Prime Lane before ending up on Fair Mile, next to where he started work in Henley.

His extensive list of clients and projects in Henley was a source of immense pride and he felt he had become a part of the fabric of the town he loved.

David had been chair of the Oxford joint consultative committee and an examiner for the final professional examination at Oxford School of Architecture. He retired in 1996.

David had a strong sense of civic duty and was known by most as someone who would be there to get things done. He was an early member of the new Henley Round Table and designed a memorial building for his old friend Maurice Tate after he died while serving as Round Table chairman.

When he turned 40, David moved on to Henley Rotary Club where he served three terms as president and was awarded two Paul Harris  fellowships.

His secret recipe for hot mulled wine had been a feature of the Round Table fireworks display since it was held at Park Place.

An enthusiastic supporter of the Henley Volunteer Bureau, David enjoyed driving people to and from hospital appointments. After an illness last summer he had not been able to drive and when he was able to get back behind the wheel his first act was to get back to the bureau.

Most people knew David as a man with clear opinions, which he was always happy to share in the letters column of the Henley Standard.

His many friends will remember him as someone who was most comfortable in the driving seat.

After Irene died in 1991, David was lucky enough to find love again with Sue. It was often said that if Sue and Irene had ever met they would have been best friends.

Over several years David and Sue walked the length of the Thames, staying in pubs on the way. They, like he and Irene, were never far from the centre of a party and made the most of every opportunity.

David is survived by his brother Brian, daughter Alison and son Christopher.

His funeral will be at Trinity Church (no black please) in Henley on Wednesday, March 18 at 2pm. Family flowers only, donations to Cancer Research c/o Tomalin & Son.

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