Local man retires leaving ‘Stand By Me’ legacy

A local unsung hero, Hornchurch’s David Spurdle, has announced his retirement, having been an integral part of our community for over 50 years.

From starting as a Technology Teacher at Dury Falls School back in 1969, and later it’s Headteacher, some readers may also know Mr Spurdle for running Havering Football Youth for 21 years. Others may also remember him for running FOCUS, a Christian group through which hundreds of our youngsters met regularly and went on ski and many other trips over its 15 years of operation.

Mr Spurdle was well known for his many stories of working overseas during the school holidays, helping children who were in need. On occasions, he would bring children back from overseas to Dury Falls and one such lad stayed and later became the CEO of the multi-million pound charity, Stand By Me, that is David’s legacy.

25 years ago David initiated Stand By Me to provide education, by building schools and even homes, for some of the most disadvantaged children in the world, with over 5000 at any one time supported. Having spent years operating at the back of the Chapel in Butts Green Road, they now have their own property in Gidea Park, an office in Northern Ireland and plans underway for the US.

David has a wealth of stories of painful street beginnings for some children in countries crippled by corruption and poverty but their lives being restored by the right support, care and love. The charity’s work is in many countries and crosses all boundaries of religion and culture, unifying people with restoration. Many children from early projects, now in their 40s and with successful lives and careers, still refer to themselves as Stand By Me children and David remains in contact with many of them.

David has a pronounced Christian faith and describes his life as a journey where God has led and where he has been able to show and provide unconditional love where it has been needed most.

You can find out more about this locally based, global charity by visiting www.standby.me  .

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