Former secretary of the AEJ British section and London editor of the Bristol Evening Post, Don Hatwell died at his home in Woodford on 29 July 2014 at the age of 88.
Kevin d’Arcy wrote:
Don Hatwell, the former secretary of the AEJ British section, died at his home in Woodford on 29 July at the age of 88.
I took over from Don, as executive secretary, shortly before the British section agreed to stage the 30th AEJ annual congress in London in 1992 – with over a hundred speakers, said to have been the most successful ever.
Don played an active part as a member of the organising committee for that meeting, alongside Gerry Mansell, Roger Broad and the younger Paul Hodgson. The elder Paul Hodgson, as a founder of the section, provided an essential financial contribution from the International Press Foundation.
Don was unexpectedly sharp. His wide cordiality and solid generosity made him an essential cornerstone to the often eccentric behaviour of the brilliant collection of journalists and broadcasters who wandered in and out of membership, always full of great ideas, if sometimes short of action.
Don was also outstanding in being one of the few members working for regional media, as London editor (and arts correspondent) of the Bristol Evening Post.
This may have kept him closer to reality.
In any case, whenever anyone showed signs of going just too far, Don was quick to impose a corrective.
Not until I read his biographical Reporting a Life did I discover his belief that I had ‟wolverine organisational skillsˮ. I am still not sure if that was a compliment.
I particularly valued Don’s editing skills for my quarterly journal Spokesman. Many friends gave casual verbal advice, but only Don got down to it with his ruthless and tireless blue pencil. He did the same with the report we issued with the 30th AEJ congress, describing the many and various ways in which media was being inhibited.
When advancing age made Don’s attendance at our (sometimes twice monthly) lunches less frequent, a group of us would often set off out of London to break bread (and rejoice in the grape) with him elsewhere.
Don’s never failing attraction for and to the opposite sex (not to mention his honest affection for pornography) meant his address could sometimes vary.
His hunger for life and his search for truth matched that of any journalist.
Remember his brilliant waistcoats and sparkling bow ties. We will all be poorer without him.