Dave Blencowe

UK - We are saddened to learn of the passing of Dave Blencowe, founder of dB Production Services and director of Showbitz. Dave passed away unexpectedly on the evening of 10 May. The following tribute comes from his colleagues at Showbitz.

Dave's life was quite compartmentalised with little overlap between his various roles and work. We have pulled this together from friends and family and tried to weave the strands together - any inaccuracies are ours!

Gordon David Blencowe was born in 1960 in Oxfordshire. The family often holidayed in Norfolk visiting the North Norfolk railway and Dave and his father would take holidays visiting the narrow-gauge railways in North Wales. He had a soft spot for the Talyllyn Railway which came about from these childhood holidays as did his lifelong love of Heritage and model railways. He always referred to himself as a railway enthusiast and NOT a train spotter.

Dave attended Chipping Norton School and the science A-Levels which he achieved enabled him to start his chosen option at Exeter University. He spent so much of his time at the Northcott Theatre however that he neglected his studies – the rest, as they say, is history. 

After several jobs at places like Stage Electrics, Lancelyn and The Northcott, Dave set up his first business as dB Sound and Lighting. Who knew how appropriate his name would be.

Dave lived in Hoopern Street in Exeter for over 35 years, first as a tenant and then as a home owner. He became friends with his neighbours Joan and Keith a couple of doors down. Before getting his central heating installed he had coal fires in the house. On winter evenings they would hear him parking up and 15 minutes later the doorbell would go. Dave would say he couldn't stay long and then proceed to stay and chat for a good hour whilst the fire got going and his house warmed up.

Business thrived, helped, no doubt, by his ability to get the job done and instantly recognisable appearance. On first meeting, his clear received English, encouraged no doubt by his schoolteacher mother and Chipping Norton school, took many by surprise. What he had to say was down to earth with much common sense. Dave went from sole trader to limited company in 2014 with dB Productions Services – changing the name as the range of services offered had grown with Dave's expertise in temporary power installations.

In 2016, dB Production Services joined forces with Showbitz to work in a single location under the Showbitz brand name and the partnership has gone from strength to strength.

His telephone discussions during the pandemic with his family disclosed a strong concern for the future, not for himself, but for his business partner and employees who depended upon their employment. Who could be more troubled by the lock-downs than an events manager! However, he had founded a business on such a firm footing that it was bound to continue with the team he held together, and is deserving of support in the future.

Dave was often the 'go-to' for his technical services for all kinds of events, from amateur dramatics shows in village halls, to weddings (often of friends where he was trusted to do fireworks!), to food fairs, craft fairs and festivals. Dave was fundamental in helping get Beautiful Days off the ground and it was him that introduced the organisers to Escot having rented a barn there for many years and getting to know the owners. Over the years Dave's role changed at the festival but he was never far away and always on the end of the phone if needed.

Dave always loved his work but never lost his love of trains and started volunteering for the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway racking up nearly 20 years with them. He regularly put his professional expertise (and that of his staff) at the railway’s disposal for events that they organised. Dave recently reluctantly took on the role of managing director of the CIC and was looking forward to working with all those involved to bring the railways plans to fruition.

Dave was unapologetically himself, never trying to fit into any box society thought he should – maybe we could all learn something from that.

In closing, a couple of words from Dave's favourite fictional US President, Jed Bartlett from The West Wing, 'What's next?'

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