David George Ashbery was born in Smethwick (just outside Birmingham) on the 24th April 1933, one of 5 children (two brothers and two sisters). A typical working-class boy, his father, Harold, was a baker. His mother, Gertrude, was a housewife.
At the age of 4 David, or as he is also known as Dave, had to go to school. His first school was near the place of his birth, but was soon closed down, during the war to make a refugee centre. He was then schooled in people’s homes, but it was only a half day education. When the area got bombed, he was forced to move and attend Devonshire Road school. He finished his education at Smethwick High School.
It was during his time at school, that poor Dave suffered pneumonia for 4 years. Later he would describe this as his earliest childhood memory, and his worst as well. On top of all this, Dave had a stutter, but went away when the Germans started bombing, through pure shock.
When the war was finally over, Dave got his first job as a trainee or as you might call it, apprenticeship as a pattern maker. Later Dave worked abroad several times, for example Denmark, Belgium, Hungry and Iran. During his time in Iran, where he stayed for 6 months, the Iranians were at war with Iraq.
Around 1949, Dave found the love of his life, Brenda Lane whilst he was attending a dance at a school. However, he had to put his love life on hold due to the fact that he went into the RAF as part of his national service.
After his final salute, he finally decided to propose to the lovely Brenda Lane. This was in 1956, a lucky year for Dave as she said “yes!”
Dave and Brenda’s first home together was in Oldbury, but soon they moved to Rowley Regis where they had a son called Ian in 1960. Their second son Alan was born in 1963, shortly followed by Mike in 1966. In 1968 Dave moved his family to Bognor Regis. A new pattern making company had opened there and had offered Dave a job. He continued working there up until his retirement having worked his way up to manager. In their new house, Brenda gave birth to another boy called Neil, this was in 1970. Brenda and Dave now have 3 granddaughters and 6 grandsons!
His lifelong dream was to become a great dad and granddad and looking back at his past, I think he has done just that.