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Published: 7 August 2013
David Cheslin, Managing Director, founder and co-owner of the marine PR company Dunelm, has died aged 64, after a long illness
As a "poacher turned gamekeeper" following his early spells in marine journalism, David understood the needs of the maritime press, while always respecting his clients’ brief, in many cases guiding and cajoling them to release a punchy, newsworthy story. He would act as a spokesman for his clients, through a well-researched knowledge of their activities without always having to revert to them, such was the trust they placed with him.
Following university, David took several posts with local shipping magazines such as Sea Breezes before moving to London to join Shipbuilding & Shipping Record in the early 1970s, then joining Containerisation International, where, with Richard Gibney, he witnessed and reported on the commercial revolution of containerisation.
Following stints at MacGregor and Cargo Systems, where he worked with Malcolm Hodd on the CS conferences side, he joined John Richman's PR company Richman & Associates, before branching off to form his own agency, Dunelm (an abridged Latin name for Durham). He was the first British shipping journalist to go to Taiwan in the mid-1970s, to visit a fledgling Evergreen. From this trip a relationship was formed that was to last more than 30 years. Other diverse clients over the years included Kalmar, the TT Club and Rickmers Linie, all having the core theme of marine and cargo handling.
In recent years, he took up the cause of overweight containers, organising two conferences on the subject to great effect. Together with Gavin Roser, he set up the CoastLink Network to promote shortsea and feeder container shipping as alternatives to trucking.
A consummate maritime advocate, he still found time for other activities, including a 100-acre working farm in Northumberland. One of his greatest triumphs there was winning a rosette at the local agricultural fair for his vintage tractor – he must have been the only person in the UK with a Porsche sports car plus a pair of vintage single cylinder diesel Porsche tractors!
We offer our condolences to his partner Margaret and only son Aidan, as well as Judy Cheslin, with whom he ran Dunelm.
A memorial service is being arranged to celebrate David's life and achievements. Details will be posted on the Dunelm website www.dunelmpr.co.uk
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