David Smeeton obituary | Media

My buddy David Smeeton, who has died of most cancers aged 83, was an excellent and pioneering BBC reporter from 1962 to 1994.

He was the BBC’s first Tokyo correspondent from 1973 to 1978. As a part of this task in Japan he lined tales in China, North Korea, the Philippines and south-east Asia. David later turned the BBC’s correspondent in Bonn, West Germany, from 1981 to 1986.

He memorably lined Margaret Thatcher’s go to in October 1982 to the Berlin Wall, which she described as a gross monument to a merciless and desolate creed. In 1986 David returned to Britain because the west of England correspondent primarily based in Plymouth.

He was born in Gillingham, Kent, the one son of Mona (nee Brockman), a faculty matron, and Donald Smeeton. His father, a naval officer, was killed within the second world struggle whereas serving on HMS Superb.

One in all David’s grandfathers was a rear-admiral and two uncles had been vice-admirals. He was lucky to emerge unscathed from the German bombing in 1940 of Devonport dockyard, Plymouth, the place David, his mom and sister, Jane, lived along with his grandparents throughout the second world struggle years. After an training at Malvern school, he joined the Western Morning Information within the metropolis as a reporter earlier than turning into a regional reporter for BBC South West.

In 1965, he was promoted to BBC Information London as an training reporter then training correspondent. There adopted a interval as house affairs correspondent earlier than he went to Tokyo.

All through his time with the BBC David may very well be described as an old school skilled who all the time met his deadlines, researched totally, made copious notes and was decided to get the story proper. Talking to digital camera or right into a microphone he was phrase good, with clear diction, his smiling face topped by a mass of crinkly hair.

In 1959 David married Diana Pitts. Their son, Jonathan, died in 1987 in a climbing accident in Glencoe, Scotland. 13 years later they determined to maneuver to Western Australia to be nearer to their daughter, Rachel, and grandchildren. Diana died in 2014.

In latter years, David used his wealthy BBC voice to spellbind native audiences within the metropolis of Mandurah with histories of settlements by Indigenous Australians and later Europeans. He spoke at size, together with verse recited from reminiscence. He was additionally concerned within the palliative care motion in Western Australia, serving to folks take into consideration what they need for themselves in previous age.

David is survived by his companion, Sheila Twine, Rachel, two grandchildren, Jo and Matt, and Jane.