HOLGATE, David

1939 - 2014

David Holgate

David Edward Holgate, was born at 225a London Road, Romford, Essex on 19 April 1939, son of Albert Edward Holgate (28 July 1903-1964), a painter, decorator and signwriter, and his wife Hilda née Stearns (29 November 1915-2010), who married at Fylde, Lancashire in 1938. At the outbreak of the Second World War, David went to live an aunt in Blackpool. The family then moved to Cambridge where David's sister, Betty Anne was born in 1943, and his father later became a publican. David went to Cambridge Central grammar school and became a member of St John's College choir and early piano lessons led to an interest in the double bass, and he was soon enlisted in one of the university jazz bands. On starting on his career his ambition was to be a traditional artist, but instead was taken as an apprentice in letter cutting to David Kindersley (1915-1995), who in turn had been taught by Eric Gill. David married at Cambridge in 1961, Anne Malmstrom, when he took up a career in music with a spell in a band for Anglia Television, the formation of a group called the 'Tempos' and a flower power group called the 'Rainbow People', in which his wife Anne was the singer, making records and TV shows. He had little success with his music career and became a door to door salesman selling Kleeneze. Living at Aslacton, Norfolk and separated from his wife and their two children, Kate and Matthew, he again took up carving house name plates and he became a tutor at the Ipswich School of Art in High Street, Ipswich which gave him a new stability and space to perfect his skills. Now nationally regarded as one of our foremost craftsmen, he has a lasting legacy in the statues of Mother Julian and Saint Benedict on the West front of Norwich Cathedral and his work can also to be found in many buildings and gardens in Norfolk, and in private collections in the UK and abroad. He worked in a tiny courtyard in the front of his house in Cow Hill, Norwich which was open to all observers. A founder member and chairman of the Norfolk Contemporary Craft Society, serving two years as chairman of the Norwich 20 group and on the committee of the Norfolk Contemporary Arts Society, played the double base at gigs and at the Norwich Christmas pantomime. He died at Norwich on 30 June 2014, being survived by his wife, Galina, his first wife Anne and their children, Kate and Matthew.