David Leather

Jo Russell writes:

For those of us in London who saw David on a regular basis, this news is incredibly sad and unexpected.

During the 1980s and 90s David played regularly for the HAC 2nd XI and then the Vets. Many Ramblers will remember facing him. His warm-up would consist of a jog onto the pitch and then take two penalties. He was what might be called a ‘refined’ right back in that he had no appetite for the overlap but tackled effectively and always tried to be a neat and tidy player with a measured pass to his team mates. However, in the days when a backpass to the goalkeeper was allowed David’s success rate was not 100%. I recall a few OGs, including one from 25 yards, which instead of being a lob into the goalie’s hands, flew into the top left hand corner past a startled John Ballinger. It was voted goal of the season.

His excellence shone in the bar afterwards where his line of banter would result in everyone being put under the microscope. On the HAC Northern Tour his late night antics were unmatched and his acted out rendition of Z cars was a highlight of the Sunday pm session in the Ramblers old Moor Lane clubhouse.

David grew up in the Wirral, went to the Leas Prep school and then to Harrow. He became a solicitor involved in the music industry and eventually returned in the 1990s to work for Ian Short and with Karen who later became his wife. The firm was quickly re-christened by the Wirral mafia, ‘Short Leather Skirt’.

I don’t think David ever played for the Ramblers but he featured in Rick Taylor’s Festerers team and played cricket for the Spasmodics. A believer of definite principles in life, he was a wonderful entertaining character whose cultural and historical knowledge put many of us to shame. He had a wicked sense of humour and was a natural showman, as evidenced on a skiing trip in 1985 to Zermatt when he  took over the stage in a night club with an athletic performance of ‘Jumping Jack Flash’.

He recently suffered from breathlessness which was diagnosed as angina and then discovered he had myeloma. Both were regarded as being treatable. He entered hospital a few weeks ago to undergo chemo whilst they monitored his angina, and died there early Wednesday morning. The previous day he had sent an email from hospital to a few, about his favourite animal charity and his determination to stop the inhumane livestock trade to the EU, ending with the words “I shall not give up”. We shall miss him enormously.

Chris Murphy: Oh dear! He was a good mate and friend.

Phil Rees-Roberts: Very sorry to hear about “Old Leath”. He was a top man.