Dave Beard, or ‘Beardy’ as he was affectionately known by his Norfolk colleagues, was born in Manchester in 1950 and raised in Derbyshire. On leaving home, he joined Barclays Bank but soon realised that he was a people person with little interest in finance.
In 1971, Dave joined the Trading Standards Department in Buxton as an assistant Trading Standards Inspector. He qualified in 1974 and moved to Derby. Later that year, a Norfolk recruitment campaign for a Consumer Protection Officer caught his eye and he moved to Norwich. He soon bought himself a Triumph Toledo, having been told by his new divisional officer that his old car really wouldn’t do. Despite being unimpressed with the local beers (real ales being in short supply in those days), Dave was here to stay.
At that time, he was courting his childhood sweetheart and love of his life, Vicki (or Vic as he always called her). Vicki soon joined him in Norfolk, and they married in 1977, setting up home in Swainsthorpe, where they remained very happily married for the next 46 years.
Dave could turn his hand to any Trading Standards discipline, including weights and measures, food, feed, animal health and welfare, fair trading and product safety. He was promoted to manager of the Animal Health Team in the early 1990s and remained a team manager until his retirement in 2008, also taking on the role of departmental specialist in product safety.
Dave was very popular with his colleagues. Despite being diagnosed with MS, he was always gregarious and cheerful and his humour, often close to the knuckle, was legendary. Because he was so kind, he could get away with saying almost anything with a chuckle. Well almost. When office email was first implemented, Dave immediately introduced the Monday morning joke, which had us all laughing as we started the work week. Sadly, after several months, one joke was a little too risqué for his divisional manager’s taste, and that was the end of that!
Dave really was a people person and was at his best when supporting his colleagues, particularly trainees and newly qualified officers. Dave’s unwavering commitment to all things just and fair led him to become heavily involved in trade union affairs and he was the trade union representative for the Trading Standards team for many years. He also enjoyed engaging with the general public (or the ‘Great Unwashed’ as he termed them) and was a hit with his regular slot on Radio Norfolk, advising callers on their consumer problems. When the department ran its Young Consumer of the Year competitions (a University Challenge-style quiz focusing on Trading Standards law for school children) Dave was the obvious choice as quiz master, entertaining contestants and audience members alike.
He was a staunch advocate of the Trading Standards profession, fulfilling the role of Branch Secretary of the South East Midlands Branch of the Trading Standards Institute for a number of years and subsequently holding the office of Chairman. He remained an active advocate of Trading Standards in retirement, attending Conference on many occasions, as well as remaining an active retired Unison member.
Dave spent his retirement travelling extensively with Vicki, socialising with friends, including as an active member of the Probus Club and helping to organise the U3A film club at Cinema City, and walking his dogs. Despite declaring himself both a Buxton and a Baggies fan, he was a Norwich City Football Club season ticket holder.
He had the rare talent of making everyone he spoke to feel happier. His generous nature, positive attitude and love of life will be sorely missed by family, friends and colleagues. We are lucky to have known him.
This obituary has been compiled by Dave’s friends and colleagues.