David was brought up in Hartlepool on the East Coast of England. It was from there that his love of ships and shipping grew as he cycled around the shipyards of Tyneside, Gateshead and Middlesbrough.
He went to university in Liverpool where there were more ships for him to spot and when the physics part of his maths degree got too much for him he found a temporary job working on the Liverpool Journal of Commerce and Sea Breezes.
His first ‘proper’ job in shipping journalism was with the Shipbuilding and Shipping Record in the early 1970s. He went on to work on Cargo Systems and in the PR department of MacGregor Hatch Covers before becoming Deputy Editor of Containerisation International.
He was the first UK shipping journalist to go to Taiwan in the mid ‘70s to visit a fledgling Evergreen and from this visit a relationship was formed that was to last over three decades.
In 1978 David went into PR, working for Richman & Associates, and soon attracted Evergreen’s PR account as Evergreen expanded its European network. When David set up Dunelm Public Relations in 1981 the Evergreen account came with him and grew as Evergreen expanded, launching its Round-the-World service in 1984. Evergreen was David’s passion for many years. He especially enjoyed the close co-operation he forged with senior management and was proud of the Group and its achievements.
In recent years he derived much satisfaction from his work with Rickmers Linie bringing to Rickmers the same breadth of imagination, skill and marketing knowledge which proved so successful during his long and happy association with OT Africa Line.”
David’s love of shipping led him into many areas over the years: P&I, ports, shipyards and latterly industry topics. He was concerned about Overweight Containers and organised two Dunelm conferences ‘Learning from Annabella’ and ‘Weighing Containers – is it really that difficult?’
In 2004 he set up the Coastlink Network to promote shortsea and feeder container shipping – an integral element in a competitive supply chain. Everyone who knew David and Coastlink say without hesitation that David will be missed by so many people in the ports sector, shipping lines and shippers and even the regulators many of whom used Coastlink as a sounding board for an effective industry perspective.
David was a consummate PR professional. He was the scourge of many a young account executive in his insistence on correct grammar and punctuation. If there was a typo in a press release you could guarantee he would find it. As one of his friendly competitors said “He raised the standards in Maritime PR.”
David had many other interests – Porsche cars, motor racing and the music of West Africa to name a few and latterly the love of his farm in Northumberland was a large part of his life.
A Memorial Service will be arranged to celebrate David’s life and achievements. Details will be posted on the Dunelm website www.dunelmpr.co.uk or available from the office.