Memory man David celebrates 60th birthday with 120 seasonal carols/songs and epic walk

Memory man and intrepid walker David Bathurst will be combining his two great passions in a special double celebration of his 60th birthday this December.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 9:52 am

He will be doing two big fund-raisers to celebrate it.

“The first is on Saturday, December 14 at St George’s Church, Eastergate, when I will attempt to sing 60 seasonal carols/songs in the morning and another 60 in the afternoon, all from memory. The times are 9am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4.30pm. There’ll be refreshments including home-made cakes available all day. Admission is free but there will be a retiring collection in aid of Stonepillow. Everyone is welcome to come when they can, stay as long as they can, and join in.

“The second is on Monday, December 30 when I will attempt to walk my age in 24 hours – 60 miles from my home in Yapton, all the way to Hastings.

“The online distance calculator isn’t reliable so I’ve relied on my good old-fashioned ruler and worked out that from my house to the Stade (the fishing area in Hastings) is 59.75 miles – but I will then need to walk back to the station which will just take me over the big 60.

“I will start on the stroke of midnight and aim to reach the end at around 5.30pm on the Monday evening. Again this will be in aid of Stonepillow.”

David has completed countless huge memory challenges over the years. He has also stepped out to explore the county, writing along the way a number of walking guides to Sussex and further afield.

His double birthday celebration brings his two great loves together with his carolathon and his walkathon. You can support him in his efforts online at

“I will be singing some of the carols and songs unaccompanied, the ones the lend themselves to that. But the majority will be accompanied by either organ or keyboard. I have got five different accompanists.”

When he did a hymnathon a couple of years ago, David confesses he found himself “going like the clappers” towards the end, rattling through to meet his time target: “This time I have been quite generous with the time I have allowed myself. The idea is to go at about 20 carols per hour.” In compiling the list, David began with all the big well-known pieces that people would expect to hear. And then he allowed himself a little “self-ingulgence” with some that he really wanted to sing, extracting pieces that resonate with him, bringing back particular memories from his six decades: “I have also included some pop-type ones like I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day and Stop The Cavalry.”

There will also be an Epiphany selection towards the end: “It will be a celebration. I have invited a great many people from various things that I have been part of.”

And in a way, that will add to the challenge: “During the breaks I will want to stop and have a chat and have a drink and have a slice of cake. In the other things I have done I have always been a bit antisocial during the breaks, but I don’t want to be with this. But I am aware that all the chatting could wear me out!”

It is all in a vital cause: “Homelessness is such a ghastly problem, and it seems to be getting worse. The numbers of homeless people you see around seem to have increased massively in the past few years. It has become accepted that it is not appropriate to give to people directly, that it can only make matters worse. It is much better to give to the organisations providing shelter, and I firmly believe in that.”

As for the walk, David is opting for a Monday to avoid encountering too many post-Christmas revellers. He will also be keeping to pavements on his trek throughout the night.