Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us Click here for details »
Tributes for first editor of Echo
8:20am Thursday 19th September 2013 in Echo News
TRIBUTES have been paid to the Echo’s first editor, who has died aged 81.
David Williams was in charge when the paper was launched to great acclaim in 1969 and went on to hold a number of key roles in the regional and national press.
Echo editor Martin McNeill said: “We owe David a big thankyou for getting the Echo off to such a great start.
“He went on to become a highly- respected figure in the newspaper industry.”
Mr Williams had suffered from Parkinson’s disease since 2007 and was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the end of August.
His former colleagues in south Essex have recalled working with him in the early days of the Echo.
Jim Worsdale said: “I was privileged to work alongside David Williams as his deputy in the early days of the Echo and, later, to succeed him in the chair.
“He set high standards of accuracy and honesty from the start. He also established a tradition of the Echo winning awards, which has continued in a very competitive and demanding industry.
“Many journalists who began their careers at the Echo owe a huge debt of gratitude to David.”
Keith Bartels, who is still an Echo sub-editor, was a reporter when the paper launched.
He said: “David Williams got the Echo off to a sound start. He was a good editor and a good guy. He was very supportive of his staff.”
Mr Williams began his career as a trainee reporter at the Bury Free Press in Suffolk in 1949.
He joined the Daily Mirror in 1955 before gaining his first editorship in 1965 at the South East London Mercury.
He became launch editor for the Echo in 1969 before joining the Brighton Argus.
As editor there, he was named Journalist of the Year at the 1984 British Press Awards for his reports on famine in Ethiopia and his paper’s coverage of the IRA bombing, which targeted the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the Tory party’s conference at Brighton’s Grand Hotel.
He returned to Fleet Street as deputy editor of the People, then worked on the short-lived European before returning to the county where his career began, to edit the Bury paper in 1989. He was also active as a representative of the industry and was president of the Guild of Editors in 1992.
Mr Williams was made an MBE for services to journalism and went on to write a book, Poison Farm, in which he solved a 1938 murder that had long baffled detectives.
He was working on a second book when he died.
Mr Williams, who had four children and six grandchildren, also leaves his wife, Elizabeth.
His funeral will be on Monday, September 30 at 11.15am at West Suffolk Crematorium in Bury St Edmunds.
Comments are closed on this article.