More than 40 years of dedicated service to sports journalism ended on Thursday with the death of the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph’s sports editor, Ian Davidson.
Ian, 59, a devoted family man, was widely respected among the Northamptonshire sporting fraternity and beyond for his sports knowledge – especially of cricket, professionalism, insistence on accuracy and his desire to include as many sports as possible in the pages of the Evening Telegraph.
He had been fighting a rare form of cancer for three-and-a-half years, but died in Kettering General Hospital on Thursday night from complications arising from blood clots on the lung.
His family was at his bedside.
Everyone who met him was struck by his immense courage in the face of his illness.
Throughout intensive chemotherapy he would still appear at his desk when he could, determined to see his beloved sports pages into production.
Ian’s lifelong passion for newspapers was kindled at the age of 12 when he won a competition run by the Wisbech Advertiser.
They were so impressed at the quality of his writing he was employed under the pseudonym “Touchline” to cycle to a local football match and report it for the paper on a Saturday afternoon.
On leaving school at the age of 15, he went straight into a job at the paper and became its sports editor at 18. In 1970 he joined the Bury Free Press as sports editor, where he met his future wife.
In 1976 they moved to the Evening Telegraph. After a stint as a sub-editor he joined its sports desk in 1977 and in 1990 became sports editor.
He set himself the challenge of opening up the back pages to as many sports as possible and he became a widely-known figure, not just for his sporting knowledge but also at numerous sports awards evenings.
BBC Radio Northampton presenter and Evening Telegraph cricket writer Andrew Radd paid tribute to Ian: “He was a very good friend to a lot of us and as far as I am concerned, a mentor.
I learned an awful lot from Ian as I am sure many did.
“He had enormous knowledge but wore it so lightly – not attempting to show off, but you could be sure if you made a mistake he would pick up on it.
“He was a modest man, but with very little to be modest about.”
Former Evening Telegraph editor Ron Hunt said: “He was a brilliant sports editor of the old tradition and it was a pleasure to work with him.”
Current Evening Telegraph editor David Penman said: “His contribution to the Evening Telegraph and the world of journalism over the past 44 years is immense. There are countless people within the sporting community who will miss him.”