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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.

Dave Rotchelle at NUJ Delegate Meeting 2016 © Tim Dawson

Dave was made an NUJ Member of Honour at the 2016 Delegate Meeting in Southport for his services to the Union. Here he makes his acceptance speech.

Dave Rotchelle © Hazel Dunlop

He celebrated his award at the London Freelance Branch meeting shortly afterwards.

Fiona O'Cleirigh (left), Dave Rotchelle (right): photo © Matt Salusbury

Dave served as Chair of LFB twice, the first time serving for the maximum three terms allowed by the Branch's Standing Orders. Here he is standing down as Chair for the second time in 2015, handing over to his successor, Fiona O'Cleirigh at that year's Branch AGM.

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."

Dave Rotchelle at the House of CCommons: photo © Matt Salusbury

Dave Rotchelle chairs an LFB meeting at the House of Commons, back in the days Before Covid when LFB tried to arrange one of these annually.

Jerermy Dear, Tom Davies, Dave Rotchelle at the House of Commons: photo © Pete Jenkins

Dave Rotchelle taking notes at another House of Commons event, a lobby in 2009.

Dave Rotchelle (in apron) serving food;Tony Rizzo

Dave Rotchelle (in apron) serves biscuits at an LFB conference.

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.

LFB Branch Chair Dave Rotchelle standing on a chair; Matt Salusbury

Here he is in action in December 2015...

Humphrey Evans and Phil Sutcliffe at LFB Xmas party© Matt Salusbury

... and in 2014...

LFB party; © Matt Salusbury

... and in 2013, joined by Alan Gibson, Chair of London Magazine Branch, Christmas party co-hosts...


... and in 2012

Dave Rotchelle presents Heather Brooke with NUJ Gold Badge

Dave (right) - in the House of Commons again - presents an NUJ Gold Badge to LFB member and FOIA campaigner Heather Brooke, whose original FOIA request triggered the Parliamentary expenses scandal.

Kurt Barling: photo © Richenda Power

Dave in conversation with Kurt Barling (right,) former Special Correspondent for BBC London News, in October 2014

Alan Johnston (left) with London Freelance Branch vice-chair Dave Rotchelle at ADM: photo © Guy Smallman

As LFB Vice-Chair (the first time, he held this post twice as well) with former BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston (left) at Annual Delegate Meeting 2008

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.

Dennis Bardens in October 2001

Dave's 2001 photo for the Freelance of Dennis Bardens, at the time the NUJ's oldest member

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.

Dave Rotchelle taking photos

Who photographs the photographers? Dave Rotchelle snapping away at a 2012 LFB conference

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.

LFB Chair Dave Rotchelle

In the Chair, cartoon of Dave Rotchelle at the House of Commons in 2004 © Pam Williams

Rest in peace, Dave. See also Phil Sutcliffe's tribute to Dave Rotchelle, linked from this page shortly.