My good friend, David (DWL) Rowlands died yesterday (Wed) after a short illness. I had known him well since I was elected to Montgomeryshire District Council in 1976. We immediately became friends, drawn to each other by our anti-planning instincts. Together with Hedd Bleddyn Williams, representing Llanbrynmair we saw ourselves as the 'Freedom Fighters'. We shared many interests, and he still wrote to me regularly or called in my Welshpool office to share his opinions (which were often related to the latest outrageous edict from the EU). He was a startlingly honest man, and despite his extensive public involvements, kept his private life to himself.
David's family owned the Montgomeryshire County Times and Express, but after University he entered the world of estate management, and I first heard of him when he managed the Lake Vyrnwy Estate, which in those days comprised a large workforce. David has written extensively about the history of the Dam and estate, and still retained his great love for the Vyrnwy area. He has been taking a keen interest in Severn Trent's current plans to sell on the estate. He was still trying to protect an area he loved all of his life.
He was elected as Chairman of Montgomeryshire in 1978-81, and was a huge support to me when I was elected to the same position from 1984-87. He was Finance Committee chair for many years, until I took over in 1987, and again a great help to me. David was a key player in the restoration of Llangedwyn Mill into workshops, prominent in the Powysland Club, and several other local voluntary bodies.
David Rowlands would have liked to be involved in national politics, but was too 'independently minded' to join a mainstream party, and first stood as an 'Independent' in the '83 General Election, when Alex Carlile was first elected to Westminster. He later became closely involved with Ukip, flying it's flag in the mid Wales/Shropshire area over recent decades, standing as Ukip candidate on many occassions. Over recent summers David has been one of that intrepid group who man the Ukip stand at local shows. I spent so much time chatting to him, that it would not have been unreasonable for people to think I was a Ukip supporter! His last attempt to secure election was at the General Election in 2010, when I was elected an MP. It was odd contesting an election against a good friend. He garnered over 1000 votes for Ukip in Montgomeryshire.
Over recent years, David suffered much ill health, but I shall always imagine him striding along the streets of Welshpool at tremendous speed, always looking a man of great purpose - totally oblivious to the difficulty being experienced by the persons struggling to keep up with him. Despite ill-health DWL Rowlands (as he was often referred to) seemed to me indestructible. It is sad and seems strange that he has died, He will be remembered with affection by the many people who befriended and worked with him throughout his incredibly active life.