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>> Notices, obituaries and tributes >> David Smeeton

Message started by Administrator on Jan 20th, 2020, 11:38am

Title: David Smeeton
Post by Administrator on Jan 20th, 2020, 11:38am

David Smeeton, who had a long career as a BBC reporter and correspondent, has died.
He learned his trade as a newspaper reporter in the West Country before joining BBC radio.   His prodigious physical and mental energies soon won recognition - as well as the nickname “Tiger”.  He was made Education Correspondent and later became the BBC’s first correspondent in Tokyo.
While covering student riots in Seoul, he became famous for the highest number of reports filed in a day; some admirers put the number as high as 80, which seems unlikely, but if anybody could do it would be David.
He was also Bonn correspondent and covered big stories in several parts of the world.
When he returned to the UK he was made BBC Radio’s first West of England correspondent, returning to his journalistic roots.
He and his wife Diana moved in 2010 to Australia, where he died.

Title: Re: David Smeeton
Post by chris west on Jan 21st, 2020, 10:56am

Tiger Smeeton. A legend.....

Title: Re: David Smeeton
Post by Administrator on Jan 23rd, 2020, 8:46am

David lived in Mandurah, south of Perth.  This is taken from the Mandurah Mail:

A patron of Mandurah Performing Arts and local aged care advocate has lost his battle with oesophagus cancer.

David Smeeton, an icon of the Peel region for 20 years, died peacefully in his own home on January 15 supported by his partner Sheila Twine and carers.

Mr Smeeton most recently narrated local history production Mandurah Milestones and Memories, working alongside students from five schools who created props of Indigenous dwellings, shipwrecks and cottages from the days of early European settlement.

In the sporting arena, he was a committee member of Halls Head Country Croquet Club and travelled extensively to compete and encourage new players to learn the game.

Mr Smeeton was also a member of Croquetwest's management board. He was also board member of Palliative Care WA and was honoured in December with a plaque and citation acknowledging his contribution.

The advocate assisted workshops in the Peel region to help people plan their advanced health care and start conversations with families about what they want for themselves as they age.

Mr Smeeton's funeral will be held at the Peel Thunder Pavilion on Dower St, on Wednesday, January 29 at 2.30pm.

Light refreshments will be served after the celebration of his life and attendees are asked to wear shirts from their various community organisations to reflect David's passion for community.

Title: Re: David Smeeton
Post by Administrator on Feb 10th, 2020, 1:43pm

This fond obituary appeared in the Guardian

Title: Re: David Smeeton
Post by Administrator on Feb 28th, 2020, 11:05am

This obituary is from the Daily Telegraph:

An old-style reporter, with his reputation for prodigious energy he was invariably known as 'Tiger'
24 February 2020

David Smeeton, who has died aged 83, spent more than 30 years with the BBC as a radio reporter at home and abroad, and became the Corporation’s first Tokyo correspondent before a spell in Germany at the height of the Cold War.

Curly-haired, clipped of diction, and invariably known as “Tiger”, Smeeton was an old-style journalistic operator with a background in provincial newspapers. He earned a reputation for prodigious physical and mental energy, partly to compensate for a minor heart condition.

Covering student riots in Seoul, for example, he was said to have filed so many reports in a single day that he broke previous BBC records. Smeeton also covered the anti-Vietnam War demonstration outside the American embassy in London in July 1968, when protesters broke through police lines and their horses were brought down by marbles and other missiles.

Appointed the BBC’s first resident correspondent in Japan in 1973, he covered the wider Far East region, including China, Korea and Vietnam, and in 1975 reported from the American base on the Pacific island of Guam, where thousands of evacuated Vietnamese war refugees were being processed before being resettled in the US.

In 1977 he covered the Labour Foreign Secretary Anthony Crosland’s first visit to China, accompanying him on his homebound flight via Smeeton’s base in Tokyo.

Smeeton found the Chinese “much less uptight” than the Japanese, more human and sensitive than he had expected.

For the World Service, and for domestic outlets such as From Our Own Correspondent on Radio 4, Smeeton reported from Japan on what was then, in Britain, still a comparatively unknown country. Nor did he confine himself to the sweep of great events; in one dispatch he covered the plight of the Japanese underclass known as the Burakumin – slaughtermen, rubbish handlers and drain cleaners – who lived in ghettoes and faced widespread discrimination.

After a stint reporting from Northern Ireland, Smeeton was posted to Bonn as Germany correspondent in 1981, covering a range of Cold War stories including spy swaps and escapes across the Berlin Wall. He interviewed leading politicians such as the German chancellor Willy Brandt and the Bavarian prime minister Franz Josef Strauss.

The elder of two children, David Smeeton was born on September 16 1936 at Gillingham, Kent, into a distinguished naval family. Two uncles were vice-admirals: his mother’s brother, Sir Ronald Brockman, became wartime secretary to Lord Mountbatten, the First Sea Lord, and later Mountbatten’s right-hand man when he was Viceroy of India. David’s other uncle, Sir Richard Smeeton, became Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic during the Cold War.

In June 1940, when he was three, his father, Lt-Cdr Donald Smeeton, was lost at sea following the sinking of HMS Glorious and her two escort vessels off Narvik in the Norway campaign. With his sister Jane, born two months later, David lived with his grandparents at Devonport dockyard, but when it was bombed in February 1941 the children were evacuated to York.

Educated at Malvern College, which his father and uncle had attended, David hoped to follow them into the Navy, but on account of his heart complaint he failed the medical for the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and chose journalism instead, joining the Western Morning News in Plymouth as a reporter in 1956.

Moving to the BBC’s Plymouth newsroom in 1960, Smeeton became a regional reporter, and in July 1962 made a live radio broadcast from Goonhilly Downs in Cornwall for the switch-on of the Telstar satellite, realising that it would revolutionise the dissemination of news.

In 1963 he moved to the BBC in London as a general news reporter. Two years later he became an education reporter, and in 1968 the BBC’s first education correspondent.

He won a Winston Churchill travelling fellowship to North America and studied techniques in educational broadcasting in the US and Canada. In 1970 he was appointed home affairs correspondent for BBC News, and three years later went to Japan.

After five years in Tokyo, Smeeton returned to London to take up his old brief as education correspondent. His posting to Bonn ended in 1986, but while he was packing to move to Singapore to head the BBC’s Asian office his wife, Diana, discovered she had cancer, requiring urgent treatment in London.

In the UK Smeeton was appointed the Corporation’s West of England correspondent, based in Plymouth. He retired from the BBC in 1994.

In 2010 he moved to Mandurah in Western Australia, where he became prominent in local life and an accomplished exponent of croquet.

He married, in 1959, Diana Pitts; she died in 2014, and he is survived by his partner Sheila Twine and by a daughter of his marriage. His son Jonathan was killed in a walking accident in Scotland in 1987.

David Smeeton, born September 16 1936, died January 15 2020    

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