David Turnbull

Lives Remembered
Click to follow

Accountancy became the springboard in David Turnbull's eventful life.

He was the founder and the inspiration behind two major professional organisations – the International Association of Practising Accountants (IAPA) and the UK200Group. He had the vision and passion to recognise a need in the UK and the global market place for small and medium-sized firms of accountants to support each other and share such services as regional training, procedure manuals and annual peer reviews and a forum to meet and discuss practice issues. Both organisations valued him as an exceptional leader.

A keen cricketer – he captained his local (Chobham) annual match with a Derbyshire team – he was also a talented pianist with a passion for jazz. When the resident pianist at a top Hong Kong hotel retired early for the night, Turnbull would take over and keep guests enthralled.

In London he played a leading role in the East India Club, where he served on the committee for 12 years, including three years as chairman.

Turnbull was born in Derbyshire and went to St Peters School, York. Later he described hmself as an honorary Yorkshireman when he married Betty, a Yorkshire lass. His maternal grandfather, Basil Windle, was a miner in Chesterfield; his paternal grandfather, John Rutherford Turnbull, was senior partner at Milne Gregg & Turnbull, chartered accountants in London, and a father figure in David's life, along with his maternal grandfather. His own father, a Spitfire pilot, went missing on operations over northern Europe just before the end of the war, one month after David was born.

His uncle, Colin Turnbull, a graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, and a noted social anthropologist, also played a big role in his life and was partly responsible for the young Turnbull's travel bug. He had travelled to the Belgian Congo in l951 to study the Bambuti pygmies and spent the next 20 years, off and on, in Africa, generally sharing his experiences with his young nephew.

He was trained and later practised in the family firm of chartered accountants, but before settling down he decided to gain experience of industry and worked for Securicor in Kenya and Zambia, which may have spurred his interest in foreign travel and the formation of the International Association of Practising Accountants in 1979. On his return, he was offered a junior partnershp in his grandfather's firm, but declined, to set up on his own. One of his early significant assignments was a project for the World Bank, involving numerous trips to Yemen and Rome.

David Turnbull is survived by his wife, Betty, one son and three stepsons.