THE man who worked “night and day” to bring Pride from the brink of bankruptcy has died of coronavirus.

Former festival chairman David Harvey died at the age of 59 after catching the disease in Andorra, where he ran a chalet and taught disabled children how to ski.

He took over as Brighton Pride chief in 2002 when the festival was financially floundering.

But within two years he had secured charitable status for the festival and attracted 100,000 people to the 2004 celebrations.

Sister Carrie Harvey said her much-loved brother had been “snatched away” by the virus.

“I keep pinching myself,” she said.

“The virus took him down in days, he died well before his time. He was fit and healthy.

“Ironically when I last called him he was more worried about me and telling me to get out of London.

“That sums him up, he was always worried about others and fiercely loyal.

“When I think of David I think of his laughter lines.

“He always had that infectious laugh that would take you with him. He connected with so many people.”

Husband Clive Owen knew David for 26 years before they married last year.

"We met at The Fridge nightclub in Brixton on February 6 1993," he said.

"He would do anything for anybody. He was fair.

"Pride meant everything to him and he never took one paycheck in his years there.

"This was a man who at the age of 45 decided to become a ski instructor. That tells you what kind of person he was.

"We won first place in a raffle and the prize was a skiing holiday in Switzerland. 

"We went and he just loved it, he started skiing from then.

"You just have to read the logbook at our chalet to know how people feel about him.

"The teenagers he taught adored him."

David was born in Hurst Green, Surrey, in 1960 and studied at Eastbourne College.

After working as a news reporter in London for 15 years he moved to Brighton in the late Nineties.

From 2000 he presented a show on BBC Southern Counties Radio before leaving two years later to take over as Brighton Pride chairman.

While leading the festival out of the dark he also published LGBT magazine 3Sixty from 2004.

Hove MP Peter Kyle, who worked with David at Brighton Pride, described him as “brave, determined, ambitious, and fun”.

“He’s the first friend I’ve lost to this vile virus. It hurts,” he said.

Friend Huw Edwards recounted how the festival ballooned during David's term as chairman.

“I remember standing next to David on the balcony of the control point in Preston Park at the first Brighton Pride under David’s leadership,” he said.

“We were both totally overwhelmed at the sight of the huge, happy crowd.

“All of this happened thanks to David’s inspiration, persuasion, cajoling and sheer determination to provide a free Pride for the whole community.”

Pride colleague Jamie Hakim said David had a penchant for getting a good team together.

“David always had the knack of bringing the brightest and best people together and he loved watching them in action,” he said.

“Most of these people are still close friends.

“That of course says so much about the kind of man David was.”

David stepped down as Pride chairman in 2006 and moved to Sitges in Spain three years later to teach English and run a property firm.

In 2013 he became a ski instructor, moved to Andorra, and ran a chalet business until his death.

He is survived by husband Clive and sisters Ann and Carrie.