A chance in a million?

 Keith Gascoigne

Keith Gascoigne

 David Cooper

David Cooper

One of those “hair raising” moments was an unexpected bonus when retired PR consultant David Cooper unwrapped a package from Amazon bookshop, having purchased on-line a used copy of Man of Wolverhampton-the Life and Times of Sir Charles Marston, the biography of the son of John Marston, founder of the Sunbeam car company in 1888 for £4.50.

 

Removing the wrapper and eagerly flicking through the 255 pages, some loose correspondence fell from the end cover. Somewhat surprised, closer scrutiny revealed a “With Compliments” slip bearing the familiar logo of Birmingham industrial conglomerate IMI.  Triggering the chilling, hair - on the - back - of – the - neck sensation, in fountain pen blue ink was the signature of Keith Gascoigne, a former chairman of Birmingham Press Club and ex-public affairs manager of the Witton Road, Aston, based IMI HQ.

Keith, who was a leading light in the Midlands media world for more than 50 years, died in 2013 aged 86. He started his career as a reporter/sub-editor on the Sheffield Telegraph in 1949. Five years later he joined the Daily Express as a sub-editor before joining The Birmingham Post in 1955.

Keith then switched to The Guardian as its Birmingham-based correspondent before returning to The Birmingham Post in 1963 as the paper’s first Business Editor, serving under Post Editor David Hopkinson. Keith Gascoigne (pictured), a former well-known Midlands journalist and public relations consultant for more than 50 years, has died in Warwick Hospital, aged 86.

His funeral will be at Lapworth Church on Monday, June 10, at 12 noon.

Keith, a former chairman of Birmingham Press Club, started his career as a reporter/sub-editor on the Sheffield Telegraph in 1949. Five years later he joined the Daily Express as a sub-editor before joining The Birmingham Post in 1955.

Keith then switched to The Guardian as its Birmingham-based correspondent before returning to The Birmingham Post in 1963 as the paper’s first Business Editor, serving under Post Editor David Hopkinson.

After leaving the Post in 1969, Keith became PR Manager at IMI plc in Birmingham.

Later, he established his own PR company, GMA, and his clients included IMI, Society of Gas Industries, Edge Ellison and Hymatic. He retired in 1994.

After leaving the Post in 1969, Keith became PR Manager at IMI plc in Birmingham, later establishing his own PR company, GMA

David said: “Spooky, weird, uncanny. It was all of them. In the 1970’s/80’s during my role as president of the Birmingham Publicity Association I spent many enjoyable and memorable hours in Keith’s company at media industry lunches and at the bar of the all - too – comfortable – to -leave Birmingham Press club.”

Also inserted in the book was a letter addressed to the managing director of Marston Radiators, Sheffield. The letter dated 1979 coincides with the publication date of Man of Wolverhampton co-authored by Charles Marston’s daughters Marjorie von Harten and Melissa Marston. He became managing director of Villiers Engineering, Wolverhampton famous for the freewheel mechanism for pedal cycles and later for its 2 stroke motorcycle engine in 1890.
David, who retired from David Cooper Public Relations in 2014, is a regular guest contributor to the weekly newspaper The Black Country Bugle on subjects of the region’s industrial heritage.