The Press and Journal’s long-time Parliamentary Lobby Correspondent David Perry has died after a very short illness.
David represented the P&J at Westminster for many years and provided the paper with numerous scoops and important local stories.
Possibly one of his most important features and the one which ensured his success, was an inherent ability to gain then retain the trust and respect of MPs regardless of their party.
From his arrival in his 20s until his retirement in his mid-60s he was a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.
Parliamentarians from across Grampian, the Highlands and the Islands, very quickly learned that David Perry was a conscientious and impartial political reporter who kept his word and sought accuracy and truth rather than easy sensationalism.
However, though at first glance he had the appearance of a small town solicitor or local bank manager, he was in reality possibly among the most eccentric and individualistic journalists to patrol Westminster’s corridors of power.
Buying a plot of woodland in the Sussex countryside, he built his home with his own hands, learning as he went the skills of bricklaying, carpentry plus a bit of plumbing and an understanding of electric circuits.
In those early days he and his wife Loreen lived in a caravan on the site with David hurtling up to the Houses of Parliament on a motorbike.
While other political journalists arrived for work in pin-striped suits, Mr Perry arrived in heavy leather motoring gear.
Though assiduously avoiding involvement in party politics, he was for some years much concerned with his own profession’s politics, being a founding member of an organisation concerned about the National Union of Journalists which rejoiced in the name AJAX – the Association of Journalists Against Extremism.
For some years he was also Treasurer for the Parliamentary branch of the NUJ.
Later he turned his attention to sailing, scuba diving then in his 60s to sky diving – though he was considered too old to throw himself out of a plane over the United Kingdom.
He simply took himself off to Canada and Portugal to qualify.
In recent years he had also started to become proficient in Italian – so he could converse more easily with his eldest son’s in-law.
David and Loreen raised three children, Darren, Jason and Tanya.
He was admitted to St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester with suspected lung cancer only last Monday and died just three days later.
Derek Tucker, who was editor of the Press and Journal from 1992-2011, said Mr Perry was well-respected among MPs and his colleagues.
He said: “One of the accusations routinely levelled at journalists is that they are biased in favour of one party or another. David was never accused of that. He was respected by all our MPs as someone who was scrupulously fair and unerringly accurate. It was a pleasure to work with him and he will be sadly missed.”