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Friday, 29 May 2015

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Architect revelled in the music of life

A RETIRED architect who sang with Hexham Abbey choir for over half a century has died at the age of 72.

Trouper: Despite much personal tragedy, Hexham architect David Curry embraced life to the full.

Although his life was marred by multiple tragedies, David Curry enjoyed it to the full.

Although he was born at Guisborough in Yorkshire, his family moved to Hexham when he was very young.

He attended Hexham Queen Elizabeth Grammar School before going on to study architecture at King’s College, Durham.

After qualifying as an architect, he initially worked for the Greater London Council, before returning north.

He worked for a number of architectural practices in the region, before joining Don Jowett and Ian Buckley in the highly regarded Jowett, Buckley, Curry partnership.

David was charged with opening the Hexham office, and was responsible for developments such as the Tanners Row and Cockshaw Court developments in Gilesgate, Hexham.

He was known for his skill in blending old styles with new.

Despite professional success, David’s private life was marred by tragedy.

He and his first wife Anne had four children – Simon, Rachel, Joanna and Andrew – but Rachel died as a toddler following an accidental aspirin overdose.

Then in 1968, Anne died, leaving him with the three surviving children to bring up.

He remarried in 1970, and he and his new wife Avril had a daughter, Charlotte.

Sadly, Avril was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and after spending much of her life in a wheelchair, she died in 2000.

A year later, he was married for the third and final time to Edith, whom he met on an Abbey Choir trip to Hexham’s German twin town of Metzingen.

Edith later translated copies of the Zeit Am Tyne newspaper produced during and after the war by prisoners at the Featherstone PoW camp for Hexham library.

David had joined the Abbey Choir at the age of seven, and over the years graduated from being a bass to an alto.

Attending practices and services around five times per week required enormous dedication, but he kept it up for 53 years.

Son Simon joined him in the choir, and two of his children had choirmasters as their godparents.

Music played a great part in his life, and he selected the music for his own funeral service at Hexham Abbey on Monday.

He was also a keen Rotarian, working tirelessly for charity with the Rotary Club of Tynedale, of which he was a former president.

As a young man, he hitch-hiked round Europe, securing lifts by sporting a Blackwatch kilt – even though he was not Scottish!

That sowed the seeds of his enthusiastic involvement with the Hexham Town Twinning Association, with regular trips to both his wife’s home town of Metzingen, and to Noyon in France.

He also owned a cottage in the South of France.

Failing health saw David take early retirement from the architectural practice, but he used his considerable skills as a woodworker to carry out many jobs at his home in Allendale Road – including building a large extension. Monday’s funeral service at the Abbey was well attended.