A CHAMPION of the disabled who beat the odds by surviving longer than anyone else with a rare disease has died.
David Griffin, 59, of Landport, died at Queen Alexandra Hospital after suffering from multiple infections.
David was the oldest survivor of Allgrove Syndrome, a rare and incurable muscle-wasting condition which forced him into a wheelchair repeatedly throughout his life.
He overcame his disability with sheer determination and completed a series of ‘miracle walks’ around Portsmouth, raising more than £24,000 for Help for Heroes over the last five years.
David’s sister Rosemarie Purdy and brother Peter paid tribute to David. Rosemarie said his courage and positive outlook had won him many friends.
‘He was a very lovable, cheeky character,’ she said.
‘He was a champion of disabilities and he went into schools to talk about what it was like to be disabled and what life was like, but not in a self-pitying way.
‘You couldn’t help liking and admiring him. He’s left so many happy memories.’
Peter said: ‘We know he’s at peace now but we miss his presence. He was such a happy-go-lucky guy.’
Rosemarie said David’s death came as a shock to everyone who knew him, including the hospital team who tried to save his life.
‘They were so disappointed and upset that he wasn’t able to carry on,’ she said.
David’s fundraising walks included a mile-and-a-half trek from South Parade Pier to the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney and doing 21 circuits of the Charles Dickens Centre sports hall with the aid of a walking frame. His condition prevented him from doing another walk this year. Peter said David was a keen Pompey fan who was often among the crowd at Fratton Park.
‘That was his second home,’ said Peter. ‘His proudest moment was when Pompey won the FA Cup in 2008.’
Rosemarie said one reason David started fundraising for Help for Heroes was because their father had served in the Royal Marines.
She said David had also encountered some badly injured servicemen receiving physiotherapy treatment at the Mountbatten Centre about five years ago.
‘He felt that their injuries were worse than what he was suffering and he was very moved to help them get the right treatment.
‘From that day on he was determined to do all he could and he always gave 100 per cent to doing that regardless of what crossed his path.’
CHARITY SAYS THANK-YOU FOR DAVID’S EFFORTS
Help for Heroes events and challenges head Shaun Pickford praised David Griffin’s fundraising efforts.
‘He’s done something completely remarkable for Help for Heroes,’ said Mr Pickford.
‘What a remarkable guy and what a personality he had.’
David has been nominated for a Help for Heroes award for ‘overcoming personal adversity and providing support to the wounded’.
Members of his family will represent him at an awards ceremony at one of the charity’s recovery centres, Tedworth House, on October 18.