TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Argus reporter who became revered in the industry for his fearless reporting in Northern Ireland and South Africa.

Journalist David Beresford has died aged 68 after a long and "gruelling" illness following a 25-year battle with Parkinson’s.

Mr Beresford worked for The Argus in the mid-1970s before gaining international acclaim for his work with The Guardian and Observer.

Former colleagues described him as "the finest chronicler of apartheid’s disintegration" and representing "the very best of journalism" throughout an outstanding career.

Born in Johannesburg and raised in what is now Harare in Zimbabwe, he dropped out of his English and law degree course at the University of Cape Town to find work and began a career in journalism in Africa with the Salisbury Herald and Cape Town Herald.

In the mid-1970s he moved to Britain, first working for the South Wales Echo before joining The Argus.

It did not take long for his talent to take him on to the nationals when he joined The Guardian and was posted to Northern Ireland in 1978.

His fine 1987 book Ten Men Dead on the IRA hunger strike of 1981 has been hailed as one of the finest books on The Troubles.

His work reporting in his childhood South Africa, where he was stationed from 1984, earned him an international reporter of the year award.

In his later career, he wrote extensively about living with Parkinson's with which he was diagnosed in 1991.

Peter Preston, writing in The Guardian, said: "David Beresford was a great Guardian reporter because he brought empathy and understanding to the areas he covered: deeply as well as wisely.

"Maybe that wasn’t immediately apparent on first acquaintance.

"David – shambling, shrugging, shy and sometimes stubborn – could be awkward or dismissive over general newsroom assignments that didn’t excite him.

"He needed stories he could get his teeth into."

He is survived by Marianne Morrell, who he married in 1968, their children, Belinda and Norman; his partner, Ellen Elmendorp, and their son, Joris; and his eldest brother, Garth.