Tributes paid to popular Caedmon College PE teacher, David Richardson, who inspired generations in Whitby

David Richardson has inspired generations in Whitby through his passion for sports and musical theatre
David Richardson has inspired generations in Whitby through his passion for sports and musical theatre

Tributes have been paid to a former deputy headteacher and founder of Whitby Musical Theatre Company.

David Richardson passed away peacefully on April 3, in his third and final battle with cancer.

As part of the Musical Theatre Company, the group would make floats for Whitby Regatta to promote their upcoming shows. This picture was taken in 1977 for the Merry Widow show in 1978.

As part of the Musical Theatre Company, the group would make floats for Whitby Regatta to promote their upcoming shows. This picture was taken in 1977 for the Merry Widow show in 1978.

More than 200 people gathered to celebrate the 82-year-old’s life at a thanksgiving service at Ripon Cathedral.

David’s daughter, Lynne Kneeshaw, said: “It was amazing, we weren’t expecting so many people to come. It was a real celebration of his life with everyone wearing bright colours. Dad even chose the music, being the director he is right until the very end.”

The proud Yorkshireman will be remembered for inspiring generations through his passion for sports and musical theatre.

As the head of PE and deputy head at Caedmon College, Lynne said he “always encouraged kids and wasn’t bothered if you weren’t top of the class as long as you did your best”.

Mr Richardson pictured with a megaphone in his hand on Caedmon College top field in 1973.

Mr Richardson pictured with a megaphone in his hand on Caedmon College top field in 1973.

David was always an exceptional family man, Dad to three children, Lynne, Helen Bedford and Malcolm Richardson, who had a happy childhood in Whitby.

Lynne said: “It was a fantastic place to grow up and we had so many happy times going out for the day and taking a picnic. We would go to the beach in school holidays and places such as the stepping stones at Goathland and Beck Hole at Danby.”

David was born on July 10 1936 and brought up in Barnsley, the second son of Sydney and Mary Richardson. He was called up for National Service in the RAF as a wireless operator and then trained at Chester PE College for three years.

In 1965, David was instructing at a Boy’s Brigade camp on a field next to Caedmon when he discovered they were recruiting for a post as Head of PE. He successfully applied and was there for the next 27 years.

Left: 1955 RAF Swinderby Senior Aircraftman, and right: David at Chester College in 1957

Left: 1955 RAF Swinderby Senior Aircraftman, and right: David at Chester College in 1957

During his time at the school, David was known for building the assault course, instigating cross-country in all weathers and organising athletics interschool events at Clairville Stadium.

When David moved to Whitby, he was involved with Whitby Amateur Operatic Society and became producer and director over his 40 years with the group.

His first show, Pirates of Penzance in 1967, led to many more, with the whole family being involved with dance moves, costumes and helping out backstage.

David was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in 1981 and then in 2017 given the terminal diagnosis of multiple cancers leading to a brain tumour which made him “blind overnight”, which was the worst thing for him, according to his family.

He spent his final weeks in Lister House, one of The Royal British Legion’s Care Homes, at Ripon.

David will be sadly missed by his wife, children, stepchildren, grandchildren and great grandson.