A former journalist who edited a number of regional newspapers during his 48-year career and was a former president of the Guild of Editors has died at the age of 81.
David Williams edited the South East London Mercury, the then Southend Evening Echo, where he was the founding editor, the Argus in Brighton and the Bury Free Press, where he began his career as a trainee reporter in 1949.
At The Argus, he was named Journalist of the Year in 1984 in the British Press Awards for his reports on famine in Ethiopia and his paper’s coverage of the Brighton bombing that targeted the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
David had lived with Parkinson’s disease since 2007 and has died after being diagnosed with a brain tumour at the end of August this year.
Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, said: “David was a quietly spoken but tough editor. Driven by powerful principles concerning the freedom of the press and practical common sense, he led the Guild of Editors with style, good humour and under-stated strength of purpose and character.
“Those qualities were valuable in the transformation of the Guild into the Society of Editors working for all sectors of the media. He never gave up being a journalist.”
After beginning his career at the Bury Free Press in 1949, David joined the Daily Mirror in 1955 before gaining his first editorship in 1965 at the South East London Mercury.
He went on to be the founding editor of the Southend Evening Echo in 1969 before joining The Argus.
David returned to Fleet Street as deputy editor of the People and The European before returning to edit the Bury paper in 1989.
He was president of the Guild of Editors in 1992-93 and helped guide the change to the Society of Editors in 1999, when he retired after a 48-year career. He has also been honoured with an MBE for services to journalism.
In his retirement, David went on to write a book Poison Farm in which he solved a 1938 murder that had baffled detectives and he was working on a second book when he died.
David leaves his second wife, Elizabeth, his first wife, four children and six grand children.
His funeral will take place at 11.15am on 30 September at West Suffolk Crematorium in Bury St Edmunds.