DAVID Hunter, who has died suddenly aged 59, was a key figure in tourism in the region and helped establish the reputation of two of Northumberland’s finest country hotels.
Mr Hunter was born in Hartlepool and grew up in Morpeth. He was educated at Oundle School, near Peterborough.
He met his wife Sue in London, while they were working for the same hotel.
This led to 30 years in the hospitality industry in Britain as he travelled the country in pursuit of his career. The Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland and the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne were among the foremost hotels that Mr Hunter worked for.
It was to this region that he eventually returned to take up the role of General Manager of Matfen Hall Hotel, which had become only the second country house hotel in Northumberland.
During his eight years there, the hotel doubled in size, acquiring a spa, leisure centre, golf course and conference facilities. Under his leadership, the hotel was awarded Best Small Hotel in the UK, and when the new facilities were added, became Best Large Hotel. Perhaps the greatest testimony to Mr Hunter’s character was the award of Most Considerate Hotel in England.
Such visionary success for the development of tourism in the area saw him also take on the role of a founding director of Northumberland Tourism.
Mr Hunter worked tirelessly to bring both business and leisure to the area.
His final work was to establish the reputation of a second newly opened hotel, Doxford Hall in the north of the county. He was appointed General Manager in 2010.
During the last two years, Doxford has become home to the Northumberland Music Festival. This was a particular pleasure to Mr Hunter, who loved classical music.
His other great interests were gardening and walking. A great family man, he was devoted to his wife Sue, his two children, Rebecca, 30, and James, 24, and his grandchild Corbin who is four. His mother, Sheila, 88, still lives in Alnmouth.
Mr Hunter’s death was caused by a blood clot suffered as a consequence of a fall while on holiday.
He will be remembered for his achievements in the industry he loved, but also for the love and loyalty he inspired in those he knew and worked with him.