So farewell then, Chairman Dave
FOLLOWING the sad news of the death of former Branch Chair Dave Rotchelle, we at the Freelance remember Dave by presenting a selection of photos of him from the Freelance archive over the years.
Speaking at his second standing down as LFB Chair, Dave admitted he had "been sheriff around here quite a while... four terms in fact," and found it "long and sometimes difficult but enjoyable." An "amazing Committee made my life much easier than it would have been," as had "support from Pam (NUJ Freelance Organiser Pamela Morton) and John" (Toner, then NUJ Senior Freelance Organiser, now National Organiser NUJ Scotland).
Dave pronounced himself "very happy to continue helping the Branch in any way that I'm asked to," as well as continuing to represent members on his London seat at the NUJ's Freelance Industrial Council. He accepted nomination as LFB Vice-Chair, and was duly elected to that post. (He served until 2018.) Added Dave, "Thank you and goodbye... Every minute of it has been marvellous."
It became a tradition for Dave to stand on a chair at the LFB Christmas party (improvised apron optional). This was to get members' attention while briefly interrupting the festivities with some very short announcements of Branch business.
Dave worked as a photographer, often covering corporate events. He told how he was covering one such routine event at which then Prime Minister Tony Blair was a guest speaker, when his mobile rang. It was an editor asking if he could get some photos of Tony Blair wearing glasses. Sure enough, Blair took out and put on his glasses for his speech - his first public appearance in reading glasses. Dave duly handed in his film roll to the Independent in person - making him the last photographer to submit to that newspaper on film rather than digital.
And let us not forget the little photo gracing the corner of the webpage and print-edition column for the Freelance's The Gong award (it tolls for late payers) is copyright Dave Rotchelle, from around 2003.
Finally, as well as numerous photos of Dave in the Freelance archive, there's a single cartoon of Dave, at yet another House of Commons meeting in 2004.
Rest in peace, Dave. See also Phil Sutcliffe's tribute to Dave Rotchelle, linked from this page shortly.