David Harrison, the Bristol Evening Post’s longest-serving journalist, has died in hospital after a fighting a long battle against heart disease.
The 59-year-old senior feature writer had worked at the paper for more than 36 years. He was a respected authority on the history of the city in which he was born and educated, as well as being a successful author in his own right.
David joined the Evening Post in January 1966 after training with the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard in Cirencester.
In his early days with the Bristol Evening Post, he covered the Keynsham area, before becoming a regular member of the paper’s feature writing team.
His first specialist role on the paper was drama correspondent, during which time he became a wellrespected theatre critic. His last role was editor of the weekly nostalgia supplement, Bristol Times.
David was an authority on many types of music, from opera through to contemporary. He reviewed several famous performers when they visited the city, including the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and, most poignantly, the final performance of rock’n’roll hero Eddie Cochran.
Music was one of David’s many interests, which ranged from literature to architecture to steam trains.
He also possessed an encyclopaedic memory for times past in his home city of Bristol.
David published a number of books, some in conjunction with the Evening Post and others in his own right. One of these, The World of Blues, a title on American blues musicians, was a bestseller.
His interest in this particular music went further. David reviewed blues records for Folk Roots magazine for a number of years, where he was respected for his knowledge and forthright views.
Throughout his time on the Evening Post, however, David waged a battle against ill health. He was diagnosed with a form of lymphatic cancer more than 20 years ago.
He triumphed over that, only to succumb in later years to serious heart problems, which required a gruelling heart operation a few years ago. More recently, the heart problems recurred.
David recalled his health problems with typical humour in one of his most recent writings for the paper: “Over the years I’ve managed to sample the delights of most of the Bristol hospitals and intend to write a book about them unless I receive: a) threats of extra blood tests or b) a large bag of hush money.
“Southmead, Frenchay, the Bristol Royal Infirmary, even the old Ham Green Hospital – been there, done that.”
I worked with David for more than 30 years at the Evening Post. He was a phenomenal person with a vast knowledge of a wide variety of subjects. If you wanted to doublecheck what happened where, when, why and to whom, then David was your man.
These past months, although dogged by severe ill health, he continued to amaze us all by showing up for work, retaining his enthusiasm and dedication for the job, yet never complaining about the condition he found himself in. In that respect, he was truly inspirational.
A witty and authoritative writer, David was a friend as well as a workmate and I know I speak for many others when I say I shall miss him greatly.
Evening Post editor Mike Lowe said: “David was a terrific asset to the Evening Post and to the city of Bristol.
His exhaustive local knowledge and enthusiasm for the Bristol Times supplement have left our readers with a great legacy.”
David is survived by his mother, daughter Becky, son Corin, and grandchildren.