Dave Cooke (businessman)

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Dave Cooke
Born Chester, England
Occupation Charity Worker

Dave Cooke (born c. 1954)[1] is the founder of two charities: Operation Christmas Child and Teams4U.

Cooke founded the charity Operation Christmas Child (now Samaritan's Purse) in 1990[2] and developed, then worked for, the biggest shoebox programme in the world.

Early years[edit]

Dave was born in Chester, the second child of John and Ruth Cooke. His father worked in sales and his mother ran the household. Dave was brought up in the Exclusive Brethren church but found growing up in the Brethren very restrictive, and he rebelled from an early age.[3]

He attended Hoole Secondary Modern but left at the age of 14 with no qualifications and several brushes with the law.[4] Mr Fox, his headteacher at the time, said “Cooke, you will never achieve anything with your life.”[5]

Cooke trained to be a joiner and had his own glazing company.[6]

In 1981 Dave had his own kitchen design and fitting business which failed in less than two years.[7] He then went on to establish a window installation company which grew nationally and was bought out in 1986. From 1986 Dave worked as a Contracts Manager for Rowcroft Windows until 1995 when he became a Projects Manager and Children’s Advocate for Samaritan’s Purse.

Charitable work[edit]

In October 1990 Dave was having a meal with a good friend John Roberts and suggested they take a truck to Romania with aid for the orphans there.[8] The news had recently broken of Ceausescu orphanages and the images of the children were appearing on television. He rounded up his friends John Roberts and Dai Hughes alongside his brother Paul Cooke to help.[9] Operation Christmas Child hit the headlines and snowballed in a matter of months.[10] In December 1990, a convoy of 9 trucks departed Wrexham through a crowd of support with a marching band,[11] heading for Romania with over £600,000 of aid.[12]

From 1990-1995 Operation Christmas Child grew exponentially, delivering shoeboxes to Belarus, Bosnia and Romania. In 1995 negotiations started with the American International charity Samaritan's Purse who had the means of taking OCC global[13] and the charities were merged.[9] Cooke continued to work for Samaritan’s Purse until 2006 in various roles as HIV advocate in Africa, International Child Advocate and an International Projects Manager developing the “Second Chance” Programme which involved going into prisons and reaching out to juveniles and young adults through empowerment and sports.

In 2006 Cooke founded Teams4U, an international humanitarian aid charity based in Wrexham who take volunteers overseas to facilitate health, education, training and empowerment programs in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.[14] In 2013 Teams4U launched its own national shoebox program bringing Christmas gifts to deprived children in Eastern Europe.[1][15]

Awards[edit]

Nominated for the St David's Award 2016 for Charitable Work[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "BBC NEWS - UK - Wales - North East Wales - Xmas charity man's new challenge". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-12-07. 
  2. ^ "History of Operation Christmas Child 1990". Samaritans Purse. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  3. ^ Carswell, Emma (2001). Love in a Box Operation Christmas Child. Carlisle: Paternoster Publishing. pp. 46–47. ISBN 1-85078-366-7. 
  4. ^ Carswell, Emma (2001). Love in a Box Operation Christmas Child. Carlisle: Paternoster Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 1-85078-366-7. 
  5. ^ Carswell, Emma (2001). Love in a box Operation Christmas Child. Carlisle: Paternoster Publishing. p. 48. ISBN 1-85078-366-7. 
  6. ^ Carswell, Emma (2001). Love in a Box Operation Christmas Child. Carlisle: Paternoster Publishing. p. 54. ISBN 1-85078-366-7. 
  7. ^ Carswell, Emma (2001). Love in a box Operation Christmas Child. Carlisle: Paternoster Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 1-85078-366-7. 
  8. ^ Carswell, Emma (2001). Love in a Box Operation Christmas Child. Carlisle: Paternoster Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 1-85078-366-7. 
  9. ^ a b Hughes, Dai (2015). Operation Christmas Child True Beginnings. The Book Publishing Academy. ISBN 978-1910662229. 
  10. ^ "MarcherMFM". Soundcloud. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  11. ^ "First EVER Christmas Shoebox Distribution 1990". YouTube. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  12. ^ "The shoebox charity that changed lives". The Leader. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  13. ^ Carswell, Emma (2001). Love in a Box Operation Christmas Child. Carlisle: Paternoster Publishing. p. 88. ISBN 1-85078-366-7. 
  14. ^ "Our Story". Teams4U. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  15. ^ "Operation Shoebox creator's new mercy mission". The Leader. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  16. ^ "Dave Cooke Charity Founder". Archived from the original on 2016-02-18. Retrieved 2016-02-04.