Obituary: Dave Murrell 1950-2021

We are sad to report that Dave Murrell, 70, of Beeston, passed away at Wheatfields Hospice on Wednesday 16 June, after a year-long battle with cancer.

Dave was born in Hull on 22 September 1950, but moved to Leeds with his family as a child, and spent the rest of his life here – mainly in south Leeds – except for a short spell back in Hull in the 1970s. He attended Brudenell Secondary Modern in Hyde Park, before embarking on a long working career. Dave often described himself as a jack of all trades, and his jobs included milk rounds, bricklaying, cleaning, retail, roofing, labouring, cleaning, and manufacturing.

Dave was above all else a hard-worker, happiest when he had his sleeves rolled up and on with a job. He would only break off for important matters like throwing some fast-talking banter at others who weren’t (as he saw it) pulling their weight! He had his hobbies: gardening, angling, swimming, word searches, and films (he had an epic collection of vintage videos). But Dave clearly didn’t fancy twiddling his thumbs in retirement – so over the past 6 years threw himself into community volunteering around Beeston, with famed enthusiasm.

Some of the projects and organisations he got involved in were: Beeston Festival, Beeston in Bloom, the Leeds2Iraq charity appeals, the Green Party, Leeds Den Building Festival, a hanging basket project with Groundwork and others, and St Luke’s Cares. He also litterpicked, helped others with their allotments, took it upon himself to tidy up and watch over the local binyards against flytippers, and was an active neighbour who often went out on a limb to help others.

Lucy Potter from St Luke’s Cares recalls:

“Dave was always so eager to help out, such a hard worker with bucketloads of strength, and very no-nonsense. He helped us tidy up a big raised bed, full of nettles and thorns – but never wore gloves, just saying ‘Nah, I don’t need them!’ And when we were tree planting in Holbeck, he’d cleared the ground and planted three trees before we’d even dug our first hole!

“He also had an eye for a bargain, and was drawn to delicate ornaments in our shop, holding them so carefully in his big hands. And he loved putting smiles on people’s faces; he was a lovely friendly man, kind with a cheeky smile, who always had time to talk to you and shoot the breeze.”

Dave is remembered by several former partners and children, many of them local. Due to Covid restrictions, his funeral is delayed – but it is expected later in July, and it is hoped he will be laid to rest with his mother in Hunslet Cemetery. Friends and family are also planning to plant a tree for him.