I first met Dave around the summer of 1996 through our association with the North Norfolk Motorcycle Club (The Panthers) at the Three Horseshoes Public House @ Scottow. He rode a Honda CX500 and arrived each meeting with Dave Bowyer who had built his own motorcycle special.
In the late 1990’s my wife Chris and I arranged two early summer motorcycle camping weekends at the Duke of Edinburgh PH in Bacton, both Dave’s with members of their families came to those weekends, where we barbequed food and had Saturday ride along the coast.
By now aware of Dave’s blacksmithing business, I attended my first “Forge-in” weekend with Dave and his Daughter Verity, all on our bikes and near Stowmarket. Near this time in 1998 I had ridden the coastline of mainland Britain on a 4000 mile charity ride. Having missed one or two areas of Scotland’s north-west coast due to low cloud and torrential rain, Dave asked that if was returning to ride those stretches, would I like some company? So our Scottish tour took shape in May and June 2000.
The tour of Scotland took to the John O’Groats where Dave spent a day visit to the Orkney Isles. Then we rode the north coast and down the west stopping at Applecross, one of the places I’d missed in 1998. There are great memories at Applecross, approached via the famous Bealach-Na-Ba (Pass of Cattle) at 2053’ in the clouds!
While there Dave arose early one morning to stalk red deer with a local gamekeeper we met at the inn. Also being there with when the local musicians play traditional SCOTTISH MUSIC AT THE Inn, I have photos and memories of Dave entertaining them for over 15 minutes on his Jew’s harp. He received a great round of applause and appreciation and instant friendships were established. We ended up staying around five days after a horsefly bit prevented me using my left hand until the swelling subsided so we beach combed and walked the local hills, ate and drank at the inn and even found foil wrapped ‘wacky-backy’ in a hole in a stone wall!! Dave wishfully suggested that the only fun we were likely to have with the opposite sex was if we dragged one of the local sheep off the hillside one night! Such was Dave’s sense of humour.
After this Dave organised a trip to the Isle of White on late summer 2003. we slept overnight near Guildford with Terry & Sally Clark, a blacksmith associate of Dave’s, Terry then joined Dave, Verity and myself for the three nights on the Isle of White on our variety of bikes. More coast and cliff walking, eating, drinking and another memorable few days in excellent company.
More recently Dave joined our family at Whitwell Hall Country Centre where Chris and I have run several biker friendly rallies over the past few years, around the campfire Dave entertained us again with the Jews harp. One time he couldn’t come due to a clash with a NABD rally, supporting the National Association for the Biker’s with Disabilities was close to Dave’s heart as was his care and commitment to his other biking friends. It was a shame that when Dave left the Panthers we saw each other less, though we would meet up for the Blakenay mid-summer evening ride, and other party and biking occasions, at the Eel’s Foot, Ormesby, the Railway Tavern, Dereham or when he called in at our home.
Dave was immensely proud of their son Marcus, who has become a talented artist in his own right. Marcus and Gwyn live in New Zealand with their nineteen month old daughter Fern. Meanwhile, Verity and Rob and their three year old daughter Robyn live next to Sue at Frans Green, Dereham.
Once one knew David Capes it became clear that you were fortunate enough to be friends with one of life’s real characters. There was no pretentiousness. Being aware of his may other interests including shooting, beating, gun dog breeding and training, as well as all his blacksmithing work, “forge-in” weekends and the excellent parties at Frans Green where his wife Sue prepared some excellent food and welcome together with numerous friends, it was evident his close family relationships and strong friendships meant that here was one of the special people one feels proud to call a friend.
While two of our daughters shed tears, Chris and I were left deeply moved by Dave’s early death, despite this and the comments from the heart above, I am left with the abiding thought that Dave Capes took hold of life and lived it fully and well. Dave was not a conventional man, he was a true friend who said what he thought which was the way it should be. He displayed sensitivity and emotion, with an educated eye to nature, scenery and the forces within our universe. For all those who knew him well, there will many fond memories of Dave, because to these people the world will surely be a poorer place without him.
Sleep peacefully my friend and know we cared.
The Funeral will take place on Monday 11th May 2009 @ 12.30pm at St Faiths Crematorium. Representative biker friends are welcome.