Death of old scholar, Mr David Despard

The College received the sad news of the death of David Despard, old scholar (Boys' Town, 1952-1957) one of the former British child migrants.

David was born in 1942 and left as a baby by his mother at a convent orphanage, Nazareth House, Swansea, in Wales, where he grew up and attended school in Cardiff.

He was in the second group of child migrants who arrived in September 1952. His early life and an account of the voyage, which he called 'My Big Adventure' was published with Jackie Allsopp's story in The Boat to Boys' Town.

He had a few hard times and a few good times at Boys' Town. Peter Sevieri was from David's orphanage in Swansea – having other boys there like himself helped.

It was summertime and I wasn't used to the heat. After class we would go down to the creek for a swim, where there was a dam. We had lots of fun splashing around and jumping in off the wall. It was great.

On Saturday the brothers would take us to the football We would walk down Tolosa Street to catch the tram to North Hobart football ground. It was my first look at Australian Rules and at first it was very strange. During the week we learnt how to play the game. It wasn't so bad.

David left Boys' Town, Glenorchy without much education and worked as a farmhand up north before returning to Hobart, where he always worked very hard and enjoyed socialising with his friends.

David married his wife Linda in the Savio Chapel in 1968 by Fr Kevin O'Leary, and they had four children.

He stayed in touch with everyone and the College and was part of the group who sought justice for the child migrants in the 1990s. David was part of the commemorations at the College for the 60th anniversary of the arrival of the child migrants in 2012 and returned for other special occasions since then.

David had been ill with cancer and had been receiving treatment for nearly two years.

He had a great sense of fun and a mischievous sense of humour. David will be fondly remembered in our community as a true survivor and an optimist. He will be sadly missed by his family and the remaining former child migrants who were also his family.

We give thanks for his life and his great love of life. May David rest in peace in the arms of his loving Creator.