David Walden: 25 July 1946 – 27 September 2011 : WGS – 1957-1964

David attended the Grammar School from 1957 and after completing A levels in 1964 he gained a technical apprenticeship at British Timken’s bearing factory in Northampton. He graduated in mechanical and production engineering in 1968 and was appointed as a designer in the drawing office.


David was very keen on rugby and whilst still at school started playing for the rugby section of the Grammar School Old Boys Association. David was always enthusiastic and quickly joined the rugby committee and was soon its assistant secretary. David was first appointed bar secretary and then served for nearly ten years as the Association’s General Secretary. He helped steer the development of the new sports field and the enlargement of the social club. Part of David’s legacy is that those firm foundations enabled the Old Grammarians to develop into one of the largest sporting and social associations in the region with many hundreds of members taking part in the very widest range of sports.


David married Jill Thompson at St Barnabas Church Wellingborough on 8th June 1974.  By now David was making a name for himself with Timken, evaluating and buying new machinery which entailed travelling throughout Europe. As a result of this success David was offered in 1976 a two year secondment as Plant Engineer to the Timken factory in Benoni, outside Johannesburg, South Africa.

David continued to progress at Timken and he was promoted to the permanent South African staff, first as Production Engineer and then, in 1994, as General Manager. Being David, he could not be confined to just work and also became heavily engaged in supporting the local community. Working through the Timken Foundation, David facilitated and oversaw the construction of a public swimming pool where many Timken employees lived, and this was followed by a public library and a Red Cross creche, all of which continue to thrive today – yet further evidence of David’s lasting legacy. David and Jill also joined the Lions Club of Benoni, and gave their full support to many local community projects, for which David received several awards and recognition.

In 2001 he was granted early retirement after 37 years with Timken and decided to turn his life-long interest in collectibles into a business and Magpies Antiques was born. He acknowledged that his success was due more to enthusiasm rather than technical expertise but he thoroughly enjoyed working in antiques and many regular customers became good friends.

Along with Jill, David loved the South African countryside and its wildlife and, over the years became experts in local animals and birds. They enjoyed countless visits exploring the Kruger National Park.

Sadly David’s illness forced him to close his business in 2011, as he fought his final battle.

A memorial service was held in Benoni on 6th October where his brother Richard gave a eulogy to a packed church.

Jill will be visiting Wellingborough for a memorial service at St. Barnabas church on 4th November, followed by tea at the Old Boys Club in Oxford St.    Friends are welcome to come and pay their final respects to David.   

Details are available from Richard – Richard.walden@orange.fr