Award-winning News of the World journalist David Gordois has died after losing his brave battle against cancer.
Sir Richard Branson led tributes to the former travel editor, who was acknowledged as a ‘wonderful ambassador of travel writers and a true gentleman”.
Sir Richard, president of Virgin Atlantic, said: ‘Travellers had no greater friend than David. His deep knowledge of so many countries, tourist hotspots, pretty paths and unspoilt beaches, guided News of the World readers to some of the best holiday locations in the world.”
David, 70, had worked at the News of the World since 1964, as a sub-editor and Letters Page editor before becoming travel editor. He wrote features that entertained, advised and appealed to readers and continued to contribute after retiring.
He won numerous awards, and was the first popular tabloid journalist to be named English Tourist Board travel writer of the year for the journalist or author ‘judged to have had the greatest impact on English tourism through articles or features”.
News of the World editor Colin Myler said: ‘David was without question the most gifted travel editor of his generation.
‘His integrity and credibility within the travel industry was incomparable. He knew exactly what readers wanted and always championed their rights. On top of that he was one of the nicest people you could ever meet.”
Married to Audrey for 47 years, David – who also leaves a son, Jason – had the personal touch and earned the nickname The Piano Man, as he loved playing and did so throughout his travels.
Last June, David was honoured with the outstanding media contribution award by the Visit USA Association, and spokeswoman Kate Burgess-Craddy said: ‘He will be sorely missed by all in the travel industry. David was a great travel journalist and a great man to work with.
‘He knew exactly what kind of holidays his readers liked, what would capture their imagination and get them travelling all over the world.”
Justin Fleming, president of Abta, the travel association, said: ‘Our thoughts go out to David’s family and friends. He was not only a valued travel journalist but a real partner and supporter of the industry.”
Stella Clery-Ackland, managing director of Cellet Travel Services, said: ‘He was a shining light in the travel industry and beloved by all.
‘David was not only a superb writer and editor, but one of life’s true gentlemen. He was a credit to the News of the World and an excellent ambassador for British travel writers and journalism as a whole.
‘We shall miss his impromptu singing, his propensity to play every piano he came across, his honesty and enthusiasm. He is a hard act to follow.’
Trisha Harbord, News of the World travel editor