About Rwanda

About Rwanda

David was born into coffee and tea - it was in his DNA. The only son of Charlie and Adrienne Williamson, David grew up with the heritage of the family business, Matthew Algie, in his veins. But as a reluctant private schoolboy and idealistic university student, even he could not imagine how much coffee would come to shape his all too short life. After gaining a degree in Economics from Edinburgh University in 1987, David joined Matthew Algie. Due to his stubborn nature and sense of impatience - he had a compulsion to live life at 120 miles per hour - his initial tenure did not last long. He left and joined Cumbernauld Theatre as Marketing Manager, knowing nothing (by his own admission) about either theatre or marketing. He was a great success and went on to be headhunted to take over the marketing of Glasgow's Mayfest. Again, he succeeded spectacularly and the Directors of the festival begged him to stay. But the lure of Matthew Algie was too much. And so he returned in 1992, as the sixth generation Managing Director of this Glasgow family business. And the rest, as they say, is history.

In the midst of all of this David got married, had four children, indulged in his passion for music by dj-ing in Glasgow bars and helping to set up cult indie record shop Monorail, established Tinderbox in Glasgow and London with fellow Glaswegian Carlo Ventesei, got divorced, travelled the world in search of the perfect macchiato, (he found it, incidentally, in Wellington NZ), established Progreso, the UK's first fully fairtrade cafe venture with Oxfam, got married again and had a fifth child! He was unstoppable in every aspect of his life. He was also intensely private and modest, and reading this would have made him wince.

David died suddenly and without warning eight days after his 42nd birthday on the morning of Thursday 17 April 2008. He had fallen ill with what appeared to be a nasty bout of the flu four days previously. It transpired that he didn't have flu, but had been infected with the Streptococcus A bacteria which resulted in streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.

David lived his life with a sense of fairness, justice and compassion for all. He was no plaster saint, and he made (a few) mistakes (although would rarely admit to them!). But the dignified manner in which he conducted himself both in his business and personal life garnered the respect of everyone he came into contact with.

David also lived his life to the full. Life thrilled him. Life was precious to him, and he made every moment matter. The David Williamson Rwanda Foundation has come into existence to try and capture that energy, the life-force that we miss every day. And the Foundation will take on a life of its own. It will help to change lives, save lives and allow people to have dreams.

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