A Tribute to Dave Barker Read

Or known affectionately to his friends as “DBR”

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dave Barker Read. Many members of the charity will have worked with Dave over the years as he volunteered on so many of our projects in Moldova and more recently in Zimbabwe.

I had the privilege of working with Dave in Zimbabwe for over ten years. Personally, I considered him a friend and an example to all who gave their time as a volunteer to Operation Florian. Dave set the standard for others to follow. Never shy to step forward and volunteer. Never shy to give informative criticism when needed. DBR was someone I could rely on to get the “job done”. He was always so very supportive of me and the team.

Team members looked up to DBR and sought his advice and counsel.  Dave had an influence over people without trying. He was never fazed. 
Working in Africa was never easy. Out there we did not have the luxury of Fire Services in the UK and all their equipment and facilities. We had to “make do” and this was when Dave was in his element. DBR considered this a challenge and he rose to it. Taking those he was working with along the road to success. 

The firefighters DBR worked with out in Zimbabwe learnt how to protect their communities by the effort Dave and his colleagues put into the training. They now have greater skills and knowledge to carry out their duties when called upon. I have received many messages from our friends in Zimbabwe who are shocked by Dave’s passing. This again is a tribute to Dave.

On our last mission in Zimbabwe in March/April of this year, we were lucky to celebrate Dave’s birthday out there along with another colleague Simon Evans whose birthday was at the same time. We had a birthday cake and the traditional cutting of the cake to the sounds of the team singing “Happy Birthday”. A great night was had by all. Dave as usual was very modest about the occasion. 

DBR will be sadly missed by all those who were lucky enough to share his company. I think one of the greatest tributes I can pay Dave is he was a “Safe Pair of Hands”. All those in the fire service know the importance of that recognition. 

Rest in peace my friend and God’s speed. You will live in our memory.

Tony Burscough
Operation Florian Trustee