'He was my hero' - Tributes to popular Norfolk newspaper man
- Credit: Anthony Kelly
He was a born joker, a dedicated reporter, a darts fanatic and music lover.
And now tributes have been paid to David ‘Budgie’ Blyth following his death at the age of 75.
Although he was born in Edinburgh, David spent his life in Norfolk, living in both Norwich and Cromer.
Julie Budzak, his daughter, said: “He was my hero. He was a very kind and generous man who would never do anything to hurt anyone.
“He was also a complete joker - he was dreadful. He would wind me up with stories and reel me in before I’d realise he was having me on. When we were kids he had us convinced that haggis was a real animal and when we went to Scotland we’d see them running around the mountains.”
David grew up in west Earlham and went to Hewett School before college, and then became an apprentice printer.
That line of work took him to Weston-super-Mare where he lived for several years, before returning to Norwich and a new role as a typesetter at Eastern Counties Newspapers, which later became Archant.
As news went digital there were fewer jobs in the production side of things, so David became a reporter in order to stay with the company.
Julie, 52, who lives in Sprowston, said: “He loved doing that job and he worked hard for his family.”
He married his first wife Linda in the 1960s, and together they had Julie and son, Richard.
They separated in the 1980s, and he wed Barbara in 1989, with whom he stayed happily married. Through Barbara he became a stepdad to Debbie and Desmond, and was like a father to them as well.
He lived in Cromer for many years reporting on north Norfolk’s ins and outs, before moving in with Julie, a year after Barbara died in 2012.
Julie said: “After he got together with my step-mum (Barbara) he moved up to Cromer and got transferred to the office up there.
“She kept every single paper that he had a piece in - I’ve got them all in a cupboard and I’m going to go through them and put them all in a big book.”
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Andreas Yiasimi, one of the many friends he made in Cromer, said: “He embraced my family and reported on our music, the rest is history. We became friends, and he would call at the family restaurant and ask Mama ‘Can Andreas come out to play?’
“I was in my early 20s, Mama would say: ‘You look after David and be a gentleman’.
“I will never forget on my birthday, we hit Cromer. We laughed and drank to the point when it was me that needed looking after.
“I ended up on East Beach worse for wear. Then I rang him up and thanked him for a brilliant time. He would laugh about that for years after.”
Julie said David got his nickname because of his resemblance to popstar Adam Faith, who played Budgie in an early 1970s television show of the same name.
Outside work and family, his main passion was for darts, and he represented Norfolk across the country, playing at Butlins resorts and other venues.
“After he moved in with us he still loved it and would sit and watch it on the telly,” she said.
David was also a singer in the Cromer Smugglers shanty band which disbanded in 2011, and some of his favourite bands were Genesis, Pink Floyd and Tuba Skinny. He sang at Julie’s wedding reception in 1993.
He is also survived by eight grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.