If you have ever wondered how Carnival started in Chesham, this may enlighten you. Last year we sadly lost our founder, creator and visionary Mr David Steel. He was one of Chesham’s jewels, and we have a lot to thank him for, not only for this event, but for so much more.
David Steel who lived in Chesham for the last 47 years sadly passed away, he was a loving husband, father to three and proud grandfather to seven. David & his young wife Linda chose Chesham as a better place than London to raise a family and they moved out in 1965 to the Waterside area. They loved the fact that Chesham presented such a good array of activities and schools and within a few short years their family had grown to five. David was not one to take without giving back and he felt an urge to start making his mark and help to improve the schools and town that his family were growing up in.
David’s first contribution was born after watching a pram race in Chesham. Seeing how the people of Chesham came out to support such an event and seeing how much fun people were having he asked himself what could he do that would benefit the people of Chesham. A short time later he had convinced a group of locals and like minded parents to form “The Schools of Chesham Carnival Committee”. In 1974 to the theme of “Alice In Wonderland” Chesham had it’s Carnival. The event was a huge success. It was opened by Radio One DJ (at the time) Terry Wogan and literally thousands of people converged on “The Moor” where the early Carnivals took place.
In addition to being a fun day out the event raised a lot of money for the schools in and around the Chesham area. David continued to lead the organising of the Carnival for it’s second year and then passed the reigns to the other members of the committee. After this time he continued to help with the Carnival but was also asked to help another group of parents start up a Youth Club for the children of the Waterside area sharing the use of Waterside Infants School.
David continued to create fundraising events, this time with the help of a group called “The Chiltern Cowboys”. This involved what became known as “The Prairie Suppers” where dozens of local children and their parents were treated to a Wild West re-enactment fight at the Chiltern Cowboys Ranch set back in woodlands at Chartridge. There were stalls, events and horseriding and a continuation of Chesham fun. On one of these events, two coachloads of under privileged children from North London were brought out to enjoy the spectacle as David had a particular passion for helping children.
David continued to help whenever he could, as well as being a long term helper at the Waterside Youth Club his services (amongst many others) also included time as a PTA member and a spell on the committee of the Douglas McMinn Day Centre. One of his last contributions to the history of Chesham was to releasing a 45 minute DVD showing old scenes of Chesham from his extensive photo & postcard collections which he called “Remember When…”. David fell in love with Chesham and made it his task to do what he could to improve it….. we feel he fulfilled his task.
David was a popular character in Chesham, many people just knew him as David, they have never been aware of all the things he’s done because he didn’t blow his own trumpet – we feel that someone should blow that trumpet now for him. We are absolutely delighted to announce the addition of a new Carnival trophy. Donated by David’s family, we will be presenting The David Steel Award for Outstanding Contribution to The Schools of Chesham Carnival. It seems very fitting that we remember David in this way, for having the vision to create a day for the community, a day for families to come together. Every year this will be given to an individual, school, organisation or contributor, who has displayed outstanding commitment and support to the event.