David Worskett, Chair CPRE Avon and Bristol from 2018 to 2022
Though he rarely spoke of his past achievements, David Worskett enjoyed a glittering career both in the public sphere as a top-level Civil Servant focused on transport and environmental policy, and in the private sector, holding directorships of several nationally important organisations such as the RAC. While his responsibilities inevitably required him to set up home in London and other major cities, David had a passion for the countryside, and especially for the West Country.
Retirement facilitated relocation to the village of Clutton in North East Somerset where he could indulge his love of opera, wine, riding, dogs, walking, gardening and country life in general. Involvement with the CPRE seemed inevitable, though, being David, simply becoming a member was never going to be enough. The next step as Chair of the BANES district group was soon followed in 2018 by him leading the Avonside (later Avon and Bristol) Branch as well as assuming important roles both regionally and nationally within CPRE.
David brought his huge breadth and depth of skills to these roles, moulding Avon and Bristol into an effective and widely respected lobbying and campaigning organisation. His input on so many issues was critical, sometimes voicing objections to proposals he viewed as damaging, such as his opposition to the Bristol Airport expansion plan. Important though this is, David always felt that CPRE should centre more on encouraging beneficial developments with positive effects on the countryside (like the Starry Skies Project and Hedgerows for Heroes), rather than being seen as negative.
David was a great organiser. Not for nothing had he reached the highest echelons of public and private service. He believed in rigorously defining the aims and objectives of an organisation, setting up appropriate structures to address these, and putting the right people in place to enable implementation. Particularly important was his ability to see things through – we have all been in meetings where there is much talk of action plans but by the time of the next meeting, nothing at all has been achieved. This was not an option with David who, despite the fact that most of us are volunteers (surely comparable to herding cats), cajoled, threatened and charmed us into compliance.
David’s successful and varied career was characterised by a desire to contribute to issues he felt mattered. He did so with good humour and generosity of spirit, combining a sharp intellect with an appreciation for common sense. He achieved an enormous amount during his time with CPRE, despite the ill health which blighted the last few years. He remained highly engaged and enthused even during these troubled times and he still had so much to give.
David will be sorely missed by the CPRE community and particularly by those in Avon and Bristol who worked closely with him, to whom he was not only a colleague but a true and trusted friend.
Written by Robert Davies, Chair of CPRE Bath and North East Somerset District.