Allan Mayer’s Weblog

It’s a Small World

Posted on: April 26, 2009

I’ve had a really interesting week, mainly due to two things which could not have happened had it not been for the miracle of the internet.

The first was when I woke up to find that while I slept my blog had been mentioned on an American internet radio show. If you haven’t already, take a look at the comment on my previous posting. And if you are an author and want to feature on Bobby Ozuna’s show, follow this link:

The second was quite moving, and I will share with you here as a transcript without comment…

I was sent a link to your book “Tasting the Wind” which I will attempt to read.
My query is related to your commemoration to David Heffer. Might this be the same Dave who was killed in Covent Garden by the IRA? I worked with Dave and shared some good times with him. Of course there can always be more than one David Heffer, though this one was pretty unique! I’d be keen to know.
Good Luck with the book.
Kind regards
Rob Lee

Hi Rob,

Great to hear from another person who obviously has such great memories of David. Yes, it is the same person. Where did you work with him?
I only worked with him for a year, but he left such a huge impression, and I was knocked sideways when I heard of his death.
Thank you so much for planning to read ‘Tasting the Wind,’ how did you hear about it?
As well as the dedication, there is a character in the book by the name of ‘Jamie Heffer.’ All of my characters are based upon 3-4 people, then are allowed to go there own way, but Jamie certainly has a large proportion of David about him.

You might also be interested in this blog from November:

Thanks for getting in touch, hope you enjoy the book and that it does justice to your memory of such a great guy,
Best Wishes,

Allan Mayer

The world of learning disability is such a small world! I worked with Dave or “Heff” at Bromham Hospital in Bedford, where I ran the Gateway Club as a full time position ( best NHS job I ever had) Heff had trained there. I was working with Mencap at the time of his death as had Heff but we were in different regions.
Some pictures used in the national press were of Heff on a camping trip we arranged and he volunteered his support. He was that sort of man. I have many fond memories including kidnapping him from hospital shoeless, climbing the shopping centre high street!!! An abiding memory (although I was unable to attend) was him arranging his birthday party at McDonalds complete with Ronald McDonald! They thought he was arranging it for a child!


If you don’t mind I will share this info with Rob Cooper to whom Heff was the closest. We get together occasionally and annually with others where a drink is always toasted to Heff. Being a character in a book will get a new angle on a discussion when we get together in July. I will have to have read it by then.
I noticed the blog though I have never accessed one – I don’t know why so maybe there will be a first time. I’ll get some others put in touch with your website.




Hi Rob,
I have just read your e-mail with a lump in my throat. I’m beginning to wish now that I had put more of the cheeky sense of humour into the character, as much of what I present is the side of him that was the staunchest advocate for people with learning disabilities I have ever met. To redress this I do have to give you a little ‘insider information’ : Another character, Martin, was also influenced by David, and it is there that you will find his more anarchic side. He once told me that when he worked at the hospital- presumably Bromham- he got into trouble for riding around the grounds with a patient on the back of his motor bike. In ‘Tasting the Wind’ Martin shows Eddie how to drive a car, but that whole scene was inspired by my recollection of the motor bike story.
Do tell Rob Cooper about it. Does anyone have any contact with David’s family? I always hoped that they would get to hear about this. And next time you drink a toast to him I will be there in spirit- I still think of him when I use one of his habitual phrases: Cheers Bigears.
Great to hear from you, and to hear your memories,

2 Responses to "It’s a Small World"

just to say i remember david well. it was i who made him the pirate flag to fly from his colleagues cb aerial and who participated in the great hamster kidnap plot – all at bromham hospital. iwas shoked and saddened to hear about his death and still remember him fondly all these years later, he was ubique

anyone interested in the heff please get in touch … i think of him every day – even though it has been a while

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