David Hunter, general manager at Doxford Hall hotel in Alnwick, Northumberland, has died suddenly at the age of 59, following a career spanning nearly 40 years in the industry.
He suffered a blood clot in his lungs which caused a cardiac arrest. His son, James, said: "He was always fit and well so this has been a sudden shock to us all."
Hunter began working for British Transport Hotels (BTH) in 1973, undertaking a variety of positions in what was then one of the UK's most esteemed hotel groups. Properties he worked at included the Great Eastern in London, Gleneagles in Auchterarder and the Royal Station hotel in Newcastle.
Hunter later moved on to become deputy general manager at the Grand hotel in Eastbourne, before being appointed general manager in three successive establishments: Tillington Hall in Stafford; Makeney Hall, Derby; and the Glen Eagle in Harpenden.
Originally from the north east, Hunter returned to the region in 2001 upon his appointment as director and general manager at Matfen Hall hotel in Matfen, Northumberland. During his eight years tenure, the hotel won numerous accolades including being named best small hotel of 2002, when it had 31 bedrooms, by the English Tourism Council. Following a £5m expansion, which saw the property grow to 53 bedrooms, the hotel received the gold award for best large hotel of 2006 in the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence.
In 2010, Hunter was appointed general manager at Doxford Hall, He was also a director for Northumberland Tourism and vice-chairman of the North East Hotel Managers Association.
A memorial service to celebrate his Hunter's life will take place on Monday 15 October at St John the Baptist Church, Alnmouth, Northumberland at 11am.
By Janet Harmer
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