Dave Denford sadly died on 8th May 2020, aged 73, after struggling against illness. He was a valued and popular member of our community, contributing to many of its activities.


Dave grew up in Exbourne where he worked on a farm in the village, which nurtured his love for the countryside. He was a huge part of village life, organising many social events and serving on the Parish Council. Later, he qualified as a tree surgeon and ran a sawmill. He was an early member of the Dartmoor Rescue Group, and took part in many searches and rescues. As a Dartmoor Range Warden during the late 80’s, he helped train soldiers and moved to South Zeal, marrying Shirley in 1990, where he became a full-time Blacksmith, quickly in demand for his creative smithing artistry. Widely respected for his skills, he was a leading member of Finch Foundry’s annual blacksmiths’ St Clement’s celebration and Westpoint Forge, at the Devon County Show. His great hobby was singing traditional Dartmoor songs, including being part of the Mariners Away shanty singers. He will also be remembered for playing the Valiant Soldier in the Tipteers’ Mummers’ plays, for his shooting skills (county shot for Okehampton Smallbore Rifle Club) and for his love of beer and "joking & yarning" in the local pubs.

Shirley is so grateful for the messages of support she has received, and thanks everbody.  Dave will bid farewell to the villages he loved and to which he contributed so much on the afternoon of Tuesday 26 May 2020. The cortege will wend its way from Whiddon Down via Firestone Cross to Dry Bridge on the way to Dave and Shirley’s house, then to Shelly and through South Zeal to South Tawton and depart through Sticklepath. Exact route with timings are as follows.

Firestone Cross 14:45

Dry Bridge

Dave & Shirley's House 14:55

The Beacon (Ex Pub)

Shelly, Methodist Chapel 15:05

Green Bank 15:20

The Kings Arms 15:30

Zeal Head

Church House, South Tawton 15:45

Scout Hut

Zeal Head 16:00

Ford Cross

Oaktree Park, Sticklepath 16:10

Finch Foundry 16:15

Depart Ladywell for Okehampton 16:35

Dave's cremation will take place on Wednesday 27 May 2020.  He specifically said that he did not wish anyone to attend the crematorium.

Please be considerate of others by observing the guidance on 2 metre social distancing between households and, where possible, stay within your garden or the frontage of your house.

A film will be made and still photographs taken of Dave's Farewell by Tom Bell, Dave Brown, Tony Clark, Robin Tilley and Trevor Munkenbeck.  Shirley would prefer you not to take your own photographs.

A celebration of Dave’s life will be planned for when people are able to gather again.

On behalf of Shirley, for further information, please contact Tony Clark, clark.zeal@outlook.com .

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