Everyone at Liverpool Lighthouse have been saddened by the news that Dave Roland, a much-loved individual passed away on Monday the 6th of April after contracting COVID-19. He touched so many hearts and had such a huge impact on the Liverpool community. Liverpool Lighthouse would like to say a huge warm thank you to Dave Roland and his family for their incredibly kind donation to us which will be put towards our youth activities within music for children and teenagers within north Liverpool, to help improve their skill set, confidence and well-being for a brighter future. We thank his family for the below words, written so beautifully to give everyone a glimpse into his life and impact on the community.
Youthful, unique; kind-hearted and fun. He was the ultimate Peter Pan which helped form a joyful bond with his grandchildren; always turning up in daft hats and glasses, playing board games or being competitive telling them he could do anything because he was ‘the best’ at whatever the topic of conversation was. He beamed with pride when he attended events that his grandchildren were participating in and loved to take photographs to show them off. He was known for being kind and generous to a fault. We have received so many messages from people who have explained the impact Dad had on their lives; from taking so many to their first Liverpool game standing them on a box in the Kop, to pouring out words of advice which some men are now saying changed their lives, even keeping them out of prison.
Dad loved to learn new things. In his 50’s he learnt to ski, spending many a weekend in Glen Coe and more recently learnt to play the guitar and harmonica; he became an avid collector of guitars and was constantly learning new songs to play. He was saddened about being unable to continue his music lessons in isolation however his tutor, Chris Varnes ensured they could continue online, and his last lesson was learning ‘A Day in The Life’ by the Beatles. He loved to travel and always took in the local culture, making the effort to get to know ‘the locals’ wherever he visited; no matter where he went, he always spoke to people, always getting a chuckle out of them.
Dad was well known for his love of music, an avid collector of vinyl records until the very end; the postman still delivering LP’s and singles he’d ordered before his death. Huge fan of The Beatles, David Bowie, The Beach Boys. In recent years he gave himself the name ‘Bowie’ as an additional middle name, so his name read David Bowie! Typical of his character. He loved to watch live music and often spent nights with his partner Ann watching many tribute and local bands, eating out along Allerton Road and visiting his beloved City Centre.
Always willing to lend a helping hand doing DIY for family, friends and neighbours, he built many a fishpond and installed garden decking for many people. He was known for always having his toolbox in the boot of his car, ready to fix or make something at the drop of a hat. His love for his grandchildren shone through when he spoke of them. Always turning up with some trinket or game or some new obscure song he found on Spotify. Think he secretly wished for a grandson though to drag to football matches with him, yet he always excitedly spoke about football and the league standings to his granddaughters. Dad was always found helping someone with something, whether it be DIY or a car needing fixing. As a youngster our home was always filled with friends, no noise was too much and no number of friends was too intrusive. He always made sure that our friends felt part of the family.
Dad loved his city, was a very proud scouser and had a keen interest in local history often reminiscing about his youth. He was also well known for his love of shoes and clothes shopping like a teenager, often purchasing wacky but trendy outfits, accessories and suits.
His love of music and football was prevalent in every conversation. Dad loved music from a very young age. Going through his belongings recently I came across school reports that talked of his love of music, that he was learning to play the piano and guitar. He also got to become a core member of the choir at Holy Trinity Church in Southport. Being part of the choir, he got to sing at York Minster which he always spoke of with great pride. Dad always said that he wished he had stuck with learning to play instruments rather than leaving it until later life. In the last 10 years he really loved his guitar lessons and I know he would want any money raised to go to a wonderful project like Lighthouse to give others youth’s opportunities that they may not ordinarily get chance to have. One of the last things Dad and I did together was a WhatsApp call where he taught me how to change the strings on my daughter’s guitar so he could help teach her during lockdown over Zoom.
His passing will leave a huge whole in the lives of his family and his loved ones; his brother Paul and sister Ruth to whom he was particularly close are heartbroken that their kind brother has left us and will miss him terribly. We take comfort that Dad is surrounded by love and peace now, as a family our faith helps us to remain in peace during this difficult time. The last conversation I had with dad was not filled with fear or worry, he was not scared at the prospect of dying as he knew where he was headed; the last words we spoke were ‘I Love You’ and the last message he sent was a text to say a hug ‘would be wonderful’. We would never speak again in this life.
Dad simply made people feel good about themselves when they were in his company; whether through what he did for them or what he said to them and in this difficult time we hope everyone can do the same to those around them Dad’s willingness to keep on learning into his sixties is something I think he would like everyone to keep in mind. This mindset should be his legacy.
When lockdown restrictions are lifted we are going to hold a celebration of his life at Liverpool One Church and will again be asking for donations in his memory to the Lighthouse Project.