Posted: December 30th, 2018
DAVID SHARP, former assistant news editor on the Daily Record, has died, aged 85. He was a newspaper man almost born and bred into the industry – his father, also David, was a graphic artist on the Daily Express.
The young David began his newspaper career the way most aspiring journalists did in the old days – as a cub reporter on a local weekly newspaper, learning the craft from knocking on doors and honing contacts in local politics and police. From the Hamilton Advertiser he went to the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch in the 1950s, and later moved back to Glasgow to the Scottish Daily Mail.
Malcolm Speed, former news editor and managing editor of the Daily Record, said: “I first met David at the Daily Mail in 1963 when I joined from the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser. He was very kind to a new boy, and I remembered it when he joined the Record. David was just a great reporter and was unbeatable in Lanarkshire, with strong police contacts.”
David later moved to the Scottish Daily Express where he had a reputation as an impeccable and resourceful reporter when the Express was in its heyday, and competition between rival papers over the big stories was ferocious. It was a remarkable time to be a journalist, and memories and stories from that era are legendary.
Ex-Daily Mail man Jimmy Gryllls said: “He was very good reporter. I can’t say I ever felt cheery if he was in the opposition. He was also one of those journalists who had the ability to make you not dislike them while they were ahead of you on a story. David was a major part of probably the best heavy team in British journalism I ever saw.”
Later, David and his brother Ian started a freelance agency covering Lanarkshire, before David joined the Daily Record as an assistant news editor. He used his skills and experience on the road to manage stories with efficiency, but was also known for his kindness and encouragement to staff.
Former Record chief reporter Anna Smith said: “When I was a young reporter at the Daily Record, David showed me great kindness and respect when he was assistant news editor. He was fair and honest and encouraging, and we remained friends long after we both left. David came to every book launch I’ve had over the years, and it was always great to be inspired by David’s outlook on life, which was to live it to the full.”
The Maxwell era brought journalists at the Record on to the picket lines – David was deputy Father of the Chapel (FOC). David Robertson, ex-Record photographer and Sunday Mail picture editor, was FOC at the time of the strike. He said: “David was a professional newspaper man. He loved newspapers, and helping younger reporters. He was also a great union person, and helped me – in fact helped us all – during the Maxwell strike. He was a great man to have at my side. He dealt with the press and television at the time, and was invaluable. In those days at the Record and Sunday Mail, it felt very much like a family, and David’s sad death is really like losing one of your own.”
By PETER THOMPSON
© Peter Thompson 2021. Extracted from Cudlipp’s Circus by Peter Thompson, Kindle Edition.
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