A DEVOTED family man whose polite manner and tireless work with a host of community groups endeared him to everyone who knew him has passed away at the age of 87.

David Lawson fell in love with Westmorland at the age of 14 when his family moved to Arnside, and though he left to complete his National Service with the RAF, his dream to return came true in 1966 and he spent the rest of his life in the area and became a true stalwart of the local community thanks to his endless voluntary work.

Mr Lawson was a lifelong youth worker, beginning his career as a instructor at Eskdale Outward Bound School and moving to Kendal in 1966 as young farmers’ leader then youth leader for the Westmorland region, a post he held until he retired at 59 in 1990.

He was a magistrate for more than 30 years and was a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award assessor for even longer, meeting Prince Philip three times during that time.

Mr Lawson set up the youth club on Castle Street which still operates from the youth centre on that site, even building the coffee bar himself, and was also heavily involved with the Alternative to Custody Project at Bendrigg Lodge.

He loved to ski, and as well as being a past president of the Lake District Ski Club, he was instrumental in setting up the Kendal Ski Club, where he was a voluntary instructor for many years.

Mr Lawson also set up the Sunbird sailing project for the disabled at White Cross Bay on Windermere, an operation which continues today as Blackwell Sailing.

After his retirement from paid youth work, Mr Lawson continued his involvement with Westmorland Agricultural Society and especially with the County Show.

In his later years, he had two replacement knees fitted but continued to teach skiing.

He was also well known for organising an annual Boxing Day canoe paddle from Burneside to Kendal with his beloved family.

Mr Lawson lost his first wife Jane to leukaemia in 1971, but he is survived by his second wife Elizabeth, his three children, Jamie, Jane and Sam, and six grandchildren who all doted on him.

A celebration of Mr Lawson’s life will be held at Kendal Parish Church at 3.30pm next Thursday, March 14.