Renowned Scottish journalist David Kelso dies aged 63

Scottish journalism has been plunged into sadness following the death of David Kelso, one of the country’s most distinguished reporters, at the age of 63.

David Kelso with partner Carol Thompson
David Kelso with partner Carol Thompson

Educated at Jordanhill College School in Glasgow, Mr Kelso joined a local paper in Clydebank as a trainee reporter in the mid-1970s and quickly revealed not only an unerring eye for a good story, but also a flair for sub-editing and page design.

It was as a sub-editor that he joined the Daily Record, then the largest-selling daily newspaper in Scotland.

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Mr Kelso quickly moved through the ranks, coping with the demands and pressures of a busy news desk.

David Kelso reported on rugby union as part of his freelance work. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It was little surprise when the Scottish Sun, the Record’s great rival, head-hunted Mr Kelso, appointing him to the role of night editor and later assistant editor.

However, his first love of breaking news stories saw him carve out a new career as a freelance reporter. He was a regular on the press benches at Dumbarton Sheriff Court where he broke several exclusives.

Having spotted a gap in sports coverage, Mr Kelso established himself as the leading freelance rugby correspondent in the country and developed a particular niche in supplying the tabloids with user-friendly copy.

His work featured in both The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday.

In a separate enterprise and in partnership with a freelance colleague, he formed Cricket Media Scotland, the first agency in the country to cover international and domestic Scottish cricket.

Having lived most of his life in Glasgow’s west-end, Mr Kelso spent his final years on the Isle of Arran where he ran a successful bed and breakfast business in addition to continuing his freelance work.

Not even a cancer diagnosis curtailed his journalist activities. Mr Kelso filed his final story from a hospital bed on 30 October, but became too ill to carry on and died four days later.

Former Edinburgh Evening News rugby correspondent Bill Lothian posted on Twitter: “Deeply saddened to learn of the passing this morning of David Kelso, journalist colleague. A time for remembering fun times on rugby tours and press box banter.”

He is survived by partner Carol and sons Roddy and Duncan.

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