In the 80s there were two sets of Two Davids that happened to influence my life. The first everyone should have a good guess at were the Lords Steel and Owen who through the 80s influenced my politics so much that one of the first things I did on leaving Northern Ireland to go to higher education was to join the Liberal Democrats.
The second set of two David's are less well known but had an equally life long effect on my life. They were David Fletcher and David Geary. The former first took me for Junior Boys Brigade taught me the importance of using both my feet, which in later years led to me being able to confuse opponents at will. But it was later when the two teamed up in the 80s to have a one hour session for junior bowlers at the church bowling club that they became the two Davids.
They starting coaching boys and later girls to play the game. I'd already learnt the basics from my Grandmother and late Grandfather, so jumped at the chance to get back to the game some 5 years after he had died. We played against each other and some of us stayed on to play against the mixed club in the evening. We even had competitions against other companies in the area our arch rivals 1st and 3rd Bangor. Bowling also became a BB Display event for the years that they kept this up. Through them I entered my first zonal tournaments, the first time losing to my club mate the second year losing to one of my eventual Bangor team mates, although that was my last year in the juniors so going out in the semis was hard to take and I had to be told to go back and shake hands after being beaten by a player 4 years younger than me. But I also picked up my first trophy winning the club junior title.
Some of the boys went on to become men and played bowls at all levels. Some of us even during that time tried out stadium bowls at the Bangor stadium when it was here at that time, some of us are still playing outdoors. Of the boys in that that club I think I'm the one who went on to have success at the highest level in the sport. Winning a full set of NIBA and IBA junior titles in one year and a Civil Service National title amongst other decent showings in tournaments in Ireland and Scotland. Those Irish titles were something that the two Davids were delighted to see, something that none of my three Grandparents, who all bowled, lived to see.
While I was in Scotland David Fletcher died, he was also a great supporter of Guide Dogs for the Blind organising the collection of stamps from all the Bangor churches. At the weekend we also lost David Geary and today is the day that we bury him. Both these two Davids served as elders in the church as I grew up. The bowling clubs are providing the refreshments this afternoon, there also one more thing that I can do to honour a fellow bowler, I'll be wearing my club blazer with some of the badges I'm entitled to wear.
So to the other two Davids in my life this is a day of remembrance and gratitude for getting me into my second stint as a bowler.