Obituary

David Whiston (1937 – 2019)

David Whiston who passed away at a Sheffield nursing home on 18 January 2019 after a short illness was one of the founding members of the Sheffield Deaf Chess Club. Together with James Godber, Matthew Sunderland and Robert Montgomery, the Club was created in 1966, David being the Secretary in which he served for 50 years. The Club plays league matches in the Sheffield and District Chess Association from 1966 to present.


In the Deaf community he played in practically every chess tournament held all over the country run by the EDCA (English Deaf Chess Association) and twice he played for England B team against Scotland and Braunschweig (Germany).

In the Europa Cup run by ICCD (The International Chess Committee of the Deaf) he played for the Sheffield Team at Den Haag (Holland), in 1977, Belgrade (Yugoslavia) in 1987, Rome (Italy) in 1995, Liverpool in 2011 and lastly at Lund (Sweden) in 2017. 

He also played for Sheffield in Celebration Events in Holland and Germany 9 times – Bremen (twice), Amsterdam, Hamburg, Essen, Wuppertal, Zoetermeer, Braunschweig and Duisburg.

He was a very competent chess player and very sporting, always first to congratulate his opponent when he lost the game. 

Apart from chess he excelled in other sports such as football – he was Secretary for the Sheffield Deaf Football Club in the 1960s and played in 1961 British Deaf Cup Final against Liverpool. His last game was at Belfast in 1969.

Like me he was a Wednesdayite (Sheffield Wednesday supporter) – good man! 

He was long term member of the Hillsborough Golf Club and a very good player, he represented for English Deaf against Scotland and at one time won a tournament. He also played crown bowling and a very keen rambler, being a member of the Sheffield Deaf Ramblers Club – he was the Chairman for a few years – and also member of the Deaf Fell Walking Club - a national organisation. 

He was a very powerful walker and when approaching a pub, he would speed up and had usually supped his pint before anyone caught up with him. Needless to say, he would be the last out of the pub!

He was born profoundly deaf. Born in Sheffield and lived in Hillsborough all his life.

I first met him when we were 3, we went to school together – Maud Maxfield School for the Deaf at East Bank Road, a temporary building being 4 wooden huts. The original school at East Hill House which I attended was bombed out during the December 1940 Air Raid (David was evacuated to Southwell at that time). 

My mother used to take me from Stannington where I lived to Hillsborough Barracks on the tram and I was handed over to his mother for the final trip to school. My first glimpse of him was a very lively fellow with a bright red curly hair and freckles! 

We used to spend our childhood going to one of the many picture houses in Hillsborough, the favourite being the Phoenix at the bottom of his road. The films were usually Cowboy and Indians in black and white with a fish and chips out of old newspapers afterwards! There wasn’t any foreign food in those wartime days. 

On leaving school he was employed by two cutlery firms, one for 10 years and the other for 20 years as a toolmaker – he was skilled as cutler and silversmith. He was made redundant due to the closure of the company, he blamed the importing of cheap rubbish from the Far East. After this he enrolled on a joinery course at Sheffield College and obtained qualifications which led to employment for a large building contractor.

On retirement he did some teaching in Sign Language to the hearing at Sheffield College. 

He was keen on deaf history being a member of the British Deaf History Society and also a connoisseur of Real Ales being member of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale). His wallet was usually filled with Wetherspoon discount vouchers! (50p off a pint). He was well known around Hillsborough pubs and shops and very popular with the hearing and often taught them Sign Language! 

The Hillsborough scene will be poorer by his absence. 

A lifelong bachelor although he had a serious girlfriend a Scot from Barra Island, but unfortunately, she passed away when he was 60. He is survived by his elder brother Eric, his sister-in-law Gertrude and their family to which we offer our sincere condolences. 

Michael Simmons (Chairman – Sheffield Deaf Chess Club and Sheffield Deaf Ramblers Club)









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