A LONDON-BASED councillor and former social worker who spent his formative years in Londonderry, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List.
Councillor David Fraser received his ‘gong’ for services to Health and to the community in the London Borough of Kingston upon Thames.
A professional social worker who for the 60 years has also represented local residents as an elected councillor and only retired two-and-a-half years ago, despite the fact that he is now 85-years-old.
As a valued member of the Primary Community Mental Health Team his professional contribution to the service has resulted in him being nominated through the Trust’s Award scheme. He has a long history of client care and is very highly regarded by his colleagues, the people who use the service and their family carers.
Throughout his life he has worked to help improve the lives of disadvantaged people of all ages. His activities have ranged from voluntarily helping to obtain funds to provide shoes for a young boy who had been unable to attend school without them to helping the elderly, isolated and vulnerable residents to obtain benefits.
As a local councillor he continues to involve himself in all the problems that residents bring to his attention, whether it is broken windows on a local housing estate, health and safety issues or simply being available to listen to the residents’ problems and trying to help if possible.
Although David left Londonderry when he was just 18, there will be many who remember him and perhaps his parents and siblings. He was the son of David and Maria Fraser, who lived in Aubrey Street just off The Fountain, and David was a pupil at Carlisle Road School up until he was 14. Four years later, in 1945 he travelled to England on foot of an Essential Work Order.
He wandered into social work in a somewhat sideways fashion, after he got involved in youth club work through his church with the encouragement of his wife, Phyllis, whom he married in 1958. Confronted one day with a young charge who could not go to school because she had no shoes, he successfully applied to the DSS for a grant ad got it, and in his own words “got the disease”.
What followed was a period of study to get his professional qualification through Teeside Uni in 1965, and after that his work took him to Edinburgh, Scotland for two years as an assistant children’s officer, before securing the job of Director of Social Services for the borough of Airdrie, which he fulfilled for five years before radical reorganisation forced his hand and David returned to Surry where he worked as the Divisional Education Welfare Officer. More changes followed, and David returned to social work proper before retiring just over two years ago.
Despite the long number of years he has been away from Londonderry, David was a regular visitor ‘home’ while his sister Agnes (Ramsay, Roulston Avenue) was living, but he is still an avid fan of Institute and Derry City and keeps a close eye on their triumphs and failings.
Asked how he felt about his MBE, David said he was “delighted” to have received the honour.