Farewell Dave Mackenzie

23 Feb 2021

Farewell Dave Mackenzie
Farewell Dave Mackenzie

We are deeply saddened by the news that Dave Mackenzie has passed away aged 28 due to heart complications on the finish line of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon. He was running with his partner Alexandra Phelan to raise money for the mental health charity Mind, the work of which they strongly advocated.

Dave attended Rugby School between 2005-2010 and was in School Field house. Despite being a diminutive adolescent, he got stuck into, and excelled at, the array of sports available at the school - hockey and cricket being his strongest.

Under the tutelage of Phil Rosser, Dave found his way onto the rackets and real tennis court whilst at Rugby. Dave was a universally popular member of the rackets team and proved to be a great character on school trips, enjoying travels to Manchester, Morton Morrell, Hayling Island, Queens and a tour of the US clubs. You could categorise Dave as a tricky lefty. He played rackets like a hockey player, squatting low to the ground, sweeping and scrapping balls off the floor, and throwing himself this way and that. A rally would not be complete without a dive to save a dying ball, however speculative.

In his early playing career, Dave was often partnered with his identical twin brother, George. Though the mirrored left and right-handed partnership was aesthetically pleasing and caused unprecedented confusion for markers, it more often than not ended in heated exchanges between the Mackenzie twins on court, much to the bewilderment of their opponents. The more sustainable on court pairing for Dave proved to be with Chris Atkins with whom he played in the Rugby School first pair and, after school, went on to win the Sandhurst Cup in 2018.

Following Rugby, Dave went to Nottingham University where he played for the university hockey team and transformed from a diminutive teenager into a strapping hulk of a man. After his graduation he completed a deferred rackets fellowship at the Racquet Club of Chicago in 2014 under the stewardship of John Cashman. The standard of his rackets was propelled forward during his time there. His effortless charm and good nature, as well as his appreciation of Guinness, made him an instant club favourite in the Windy City where he is affectionately known as D-Mac. He returned to warm welcomes in 2016 for the Quintathlon, where he played for Team Wind. He was delighted to be informed by John Cashman that they had a bed for him in the club, less so when it became apparent that said bed was a mattress on the floor of the nap room. Despite his sleeping arrangements, Dave expressed enormous reverence of the 2016 ‘Quinty’ and reminisced fondly about his time in Chicago, both then and as a fellow.

Before moving to Abu Dhabi in 2019, Dave was based in London and worked in events sponsorship. During his time in London, he played regularly for the Old Rugbeians (OR) Football Club. His rounded ability made him a vital asset, not to mention his fitness levels which were head and shoulders above the rest of the team. Dave also competed for the OR Real Tennis team, travelling to Radley and Queens numerous times to represent the ORs. The OR Rackets team was also fortunate enough to have him in their ranks, every year playing in the Noel Bruce and in fixtures against the Old Cliftonians and Old Radleians. On two occasions Dave played against the HAC, both times facing Sidney Yankson and his questionable handicapping, scoring and line calls. Naturally, Dave took it in great spirit, with a smile on his face and always offering a pint in the bar afterwards.

Dave was also a notable endurance athlete and regularly competed in triathlons and long-distance events all over the world, raising huge sums of money for charity as a solo effort, with his partner Alexandra or twin brother George.

Dave will be remembered as a generous, softly spoken character with a dry sense of humour and quick wit. A man who was well loved by everyone who had the pleasure of spending time with him. A truly dependable friend, teammate, partner, brother and son, who will be sorely missed.

The Mackenzie family would be hugely appreciative of your donations to ‘Mind’, the charity of which Dave and Alexandra were running in support.

Support Dave's charity

In 2018, Dave won the Sandhurst Cup with his OR partner Chris Atkins.

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