David Fewster ~ 1953-2023
Tributes have been paid to one of Beverley’s most well-known residents, respected broadcaster and businessman David Fewster, the founder of Beverley FM radio station, who died on 18th October 2023 aged 69.
David was born in Hull and moved to Beverley as a boy, he attended Longcroft School and came to prominence in the 1980s as a radio presenter on the first commercial radio station dedicated to Hull and East Yorkshire, Viking Radio. He was the presenter of the breakfast show at the launch of the station in 1984, becoming a popular voice throughout the area with his cheerful and friendly style of broadcasting and his self-imposed nickname of ‘The Ageing Groover’.
Away from the airwaves, David was also successful in business when he launched the UK arm of Chem-Dry, the American carpet and upholstery cleaning franchise in 1988, and was joined a year later by his brother-in-law Philip Smith. Together, they grew Chem-Dry from a small start-up company to a multi-million-pound operation with headquarters in Swinemoor Lane, Beverley, before selling the business to Homeserve in 2005.
David married his wife Kathy in 1974 and the couple have six daughters and nineteen grandchildren. He was a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving as a Bishop and Mission President. His church work took David and his family to live in the United States for a time, where he was responsible for public relations at the church headquarters which included organising all media and communications for the world’s press attending the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. On returning to East Yorkshire, he rekindled his love for local radio, taking up management positions at KCFM and West Hull Community Radio before starting on a path to achieve a long-held dream of giving Beverley and the surrounding area its own radio station.
The dream became reality in 2015 with the launch of Beverley FM, broadcasting on 107.8FM. David was at the helm as Managing Director and he returned to the airwaves as a presenter. The station has grown to encompass around 60 volunteers working to run all aspects of the operation and for many it was their first time being involved in broadcasting. David encouraged scores of local people to become involved and mentored many of them to become adept in the world of radio. Local businesses became advertising clients and Beverley FM is now recognised as one of the most successful community radio stations in the country. The team he grew around him are determined to take Beverley FM on to new heights as a tribute to its founder and driving force.
Everyone who knew David Fewster appreciated him as a humble, kind and talented man, a valued resident of Beverley and member of his church. Above all he was a dedicated family man who touched the hearts of many and lived to make a positive difference to the lives of everyone he met. Our thoughts are with Kathy and his family at this sad time.
David’s ‘massive and invaluable’ contribution to the success of Viking Radio was acknowledged by Roger Brooks, who was Managing Director of the station when it launched in April 1984.
He said: ‘David was the consummate broadcaster and his role as breakfast presenter was absolutely vital to Viking’s runaway success.
‘His warm, humorous and enthusiastic commitment to the all-important breakfast show was exactly right for the audience and for setting the tone for the Viking Radio style of broadcasting that was so appealing to listeners across the region.
‘His involvement in the radio station’s other activities was also hugely significant and I appreciated his skills and treasured his friendship from the day we met and for the forty years since then. He will be greatly missed.’