Hundreds of mourners pay last respects to Old Town legend

Monkey Dave as a young boy in Hastings
Monkey Dave as a young boy in Hastings

HUNDREDS of mourners filed through the Old Town in a special procession to pay their last respects to local legend Monkey Dave.

Up to 300 people walked through George Street and High Street behind the funeral cortege of David Darley-Bentley.

The 55-year-old was found dead in his flat on the evening of Friday July 27.

Many of the mourners were dressed in bright Hawaiian style shirts which was Dave’s favourite dress style.

They marched slowly behind the hearse as far as the junction with Roebuck Street before it went on to Hastings Crematorium for a funeral service.

Around 400 people attended the funeral service, many wearing bright coloured summer shirts or dresses.

During the service local singer Liane Carroll played Picture in a Frame on the organ.

Dave’s son Charlie, aged 17, who now lives in Sweden, played a Swedish lament on his guitar.

Dave’s former partner Johanna, who is Charlie’s mother, also paid tribute by reading a poignant poem.

Life long friend Jonathan Mendenhall, who went to school with Dave at Priory Road Secondary Modern, conducted the funeral service.

He said: “The service was a celebration of Dave’s life and a very fitting tribute to him.

“It was a case of standing room only as the service room was packed - people even stood outside to listen via live speakers.

“It was very touching to hear his son Charlie sing a Swedish lament song.

“There was also lots of laughter and talk about the general contribution to the life and well being of people in the Old Town.”

Paying tribute Phil Pepper, 53, said: “Dave was one of those true gents in life.

“He was very kind and always had a smile on his face. He was a good DJ.

“I used to drink with him in the Nelson and everyone knew him in the Old Town.

“He was one of those true local characters.

“I was gob-smacked when I heard that he had died.

“There were no signs of depression that I was aware of.”

Old Towner Derek Brown said: “I knew Dave for 10 years. He was always very friendly. I am not surprised that so many people turned out to pay their last respects.

“Dave was a really nice guy who never had a bad word to say about anyone.”

John Club, Leigh Dyer, Karen Simnett, Steve Ronan and Simon Fairley raised a glass at the Filo Pub to their old pal.

John said: “He was a local legend and will be sorely missed.”