It is with great regret that the Friends of the Aldershot Military Museum have to report the death of our Chairman David Picken, on 28th September 2015, aged 70.
David had been an active member of the Friends for many years, supporting our various events and activities, until being elected Chairman in 2013. In that role he led the Friends with his trademark quiet authority, steering the group through our work supporting the Aldershot Military Museum and our numerous heritage activities. As the Museum’s management migrated from Hampshire County Council to the Hampshire Cultural Trust, David was our untiring link with the Museum authorities, representing the views of the Friends and always urging an active role for the group in the future direction of the Museum.
In his professional life David was a distinguished librarian. Early in his career he had been local history librarian in Aldershot, but had gone on to work in specialist technical librarianship, spending many years at Easams Ltd and then becoming a Team Leader in the information and knowledge services at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Following his retirement David used his skills as a volunteer at the Museum of Farnham, where he guided the reorganisation, improvement and digitisation of their library. He pursued his great love of local history not only with the Friends of the Aldershot Military Museum but with many other societies, including the Friends of the Museum of Farnham, the Friends of the Aldershot Public Library Military Collection, the Aldershot Historical Society, and the U3A Local History group. It was characteristic of David that he was never content just to be a member of any group, he always played an active role and gladly served on the Committees or as an officer of his societies. Outside of local history David was a great sports enthusiast, particularly cricket and rugby, and right up to his death he was keenly following the Rugby World Cup.
David was still energetically pursuing all his many interests and roles when illness struck, and he died after a short time in hospital. Taken from us much too soon, he leaves a large void in the Friends of the Aldershot Military Museum and in many other groups, and he will be much missed. At his funeral not only was there standing-room only in the chapel, but there were many outside the door who could not fit inside, so great was the number who wanted to express their last respects to a man who was so well regarded by so many.
The Friends of the Aldershot Military Museum extend our deepest sympathies to his wife, Gill, and their daughters Emma and Julia.
Paul H. Vickers
When David stepped up to the mark to take on the role of Chairman of the Friends, from our first committee meeting I quickly realised that here was a man who felt deeply passionate about many things, amongst which were our heritage and local history.
To this end David and his wife, Gill, became members of many societies and used their talents and knowledge to enhance the work and accomplishments of those societies and we were most fortunate, therefore, that David found time to lead the Friends’ committee through two years of change and with major projects for the museum.
To me David appeared unflappable, he was quiet yet forceful, kind, generous and helpful and he will be sorely missed. Our sympathy to Gill and daughters Emma and Julia.
I had come into contact with David and his wife Gill over several years at various activities, meetings and events organised by the Friends and Museum. As a couple they always contributed fully, even may I say, down to washing-up in the kitchen, if need be!
Two years ago, when Paul Vickers decided to stand down as Chairman after many years of service, David, being the generous man he was, gallantly stepped up to the plate to offer his services. It proved to be a turbulent time for all Museums and within Hampshire too, with the Hampshire County Council Museum Services being moved out into the Heritage Cultural Trust. As the new Chairman, he had to find his feet very quickly. He pursued relentlessly, on behalf of the Friends, much needed information, often not easily accessible, that impacted directly on the function of our Museum, but also importantly, on our own role of promoting the well-being of the Museum. While all this was happening, our 1914-18 Great War Exhibition and Roll of Honour, led to long hours of additional demands on his time.
In my role on the Friends Committee, I appreciated his time and patience in dealing with the more mundane but necessary chores that make us what we are – a respected Group – within the local community.
His dedication and honesty of stating “How things are” and “Possible outcomes” during many robust Committee meetings will be greatly missed.
David was an honest and kind man and he will leave a great gap in the Friends. His rapid failing health took us all by surprise.
To Gill and his daughters we extend our condolences at their great loss. Our loss too, and we thank him very much for his great contribution to the Friends.
I would like to dedicate this web site in memory of David Picken. David’s help and enthusiasm for the Friends website contributed greatly in making this site great.