About a month or so ago I sent a letter. Wanting nothing in return it was sent with one purpose, to say thank you!
It was sent to David Warner. The man responsible for bringing the world of one Charlie Chadwick to life ( please see previous post – Pot of gold… )
Charlie’s diaries ( 4 volumes in total ) have had such an impact on me that I felt compelled to contact David. I was delighted to receive an email some weeks later, not only thanking me for my thanks, but inviting me ( and any riding chums ) to visit David at his home, to see Charlie’s original journals and hear more about this incredible man!!!
I immediately forwarded the email to my friend Steve, his reply?
As I had some time off work on the horizon, a date was set with David for the afternoon of Weds 25th Oct.
What a wonderful afternoon it was!
David is a very gracious, funny and engaging man. No mean cyclist himself, he has lived a varied and interesting life.
That’s a 15 year old David (second from right) on an RSF ‘ride’ in 1956…
As he rightly said…
‘I should write a book!’
Steve and I were made to feel very welcome. Not only is David generous with his time, but also in the sharing of his stories.
One of the first things he said to us was ‘your heads’ll be spinning by the time you leave’ and he wasn’t joking. The amount of information stored in David’s head and the volume of work that makes up Charlie’s original documents, photographs, drawings, etc… is overwhelming!
Amongst the treasures were 25 years (1922 – 1947) worth of ride logs, poetry, photo albums, film slides, route guides, the list goes on…
The handwriting is exquisite, the drawings exceptional.
Charlie had a gift, a natural affinity for the written word and jealousy inducing drawing skills. His drive to pursue and document his passion have created a wonderful, romantic, historical document that we are extremely lucky to be able to enjoy. Our world now is far removed from the world that Charlie knew in many ways, so much has been replaced or lost. We are fortunate indeed that his journals remain.
One lovely story has it that an old employment recommendation form described him as…
‘a good type’ 🙂
David was able to provide us with so much information, not only because he has spent many years investigating and documenting, but most importantly because he was lucky enough to have known Charlie on and off the bike.
It has been, and clearly continues to be, a labour of love.
He has a very real, emotional attachment to this man and his story and it shows in the most wonderful way.
After a good few hours, we’d barely scratched the surface! Not wanting to overstay our welcome on this first visit Steve and I headed for home, heads well and truly spinning!!!
So, for the second time, I say a thank you to David. Steve and I had a wonderful afternoon and will be visiting David again, providing he’ll have us of course!
If you haven’t already I would implore you to seek out more about this astonishing man! The effort that David has made to highlight Charlie’s life is immense, and continues twice a week at – Charlie Chadwick
The 4 books can be found here – Diaries
There is still much to do, but David has it all under control.
A massive thanks also to David’s wife for the tea and biscuits! 🙂
Words – Paul Rance
Pictures – Steve Makin