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Fond farewell to Dad – legendary Stratford hairdresser

LEGENDARY Stratford hairdresser David Beacham has died after a brief illness.

As owner of Coiffure by David, Mr Beacham was a presence in the town since he set up shop on the corner of Rother Street and Windsor Street on New Year’s Day 1958.

David, who would have turned 86 on Tuesday, died on the day he was due to retire. He had five children with his wife Shirley, who died in 2014. The family lived in Welford.

David's son Matt told the Herald about his dad’s reputation for lavish hairstyles. “He started with old Stratford hairdressers Ladds before going to train in Paris with Section D’arte, then came back and released it on Stratford.

“He would do bouffant creations and I can remember limousines outside the salon; quite a few of his clientele were well-to-do.”

At the height of the business, David had 11 staff working in the salon. Many who have walked by the salon window will have marvelled at the retro equipment that filled the shop.

Matt said: “Some of it is from the 1960s – there’s flock wallpaper on the walls and an old glass candelabra. We couldn’t bear it to go to landfill, but as I worked in the theatre I had contacts with a prop hire company called Superhire, and they are taking virtually the whole contents of the shop. Hopefully you might see it on the telly.”

In 2018 David won a Stratford Pride award after Matt sneakily nominated him. Matt said: “He didn’t even like opening Christmas presents so when he won it his face was a picture – ‘I’ll get you for this’ – but he enjoyed it really.”

Even after 63 years, David was keen to keep going. “My dad was a worrier, always working. I can remember when Welford flooded one year he waded through the river at the Four Alls and then walked into Stratford just so he could get to work.

“Even when he was in hospital he was agitated, anxious that he should be closing down the business. And then in the end he died on the day it was meant to shut.”

David’s family were with him on his last day and Matt said they were thankful to the staff on Mary Ward at Warwick Hospital.

“They are beautiful people, the care was stunning – stroking his hand, offering kind reassurances – always pleasant, taking the time, no matter how busy they were.

“He’d had two hip replacements, so the NHS had bolted him together over the years, and we want to say a huge thank-you for caring for him in his final days.”

Matt, who has raised funds for Guide Dogs, said the family would name a dog in David’s honour and was asking for contributions to that rather than flowers. Visit virginmoneygiving.com and search for Matt Beacham

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