FORMER Bournemouth local government officer for 50 years, David John Harrison, has died at the age of 69.

David joined the former borough engineers department as a general clerk in 1964 and five years later he became committee clerk in the former town clerk's department. In 1972 he was awarded the Diploma in Municipal Administration with distinction. He was then appointed Principal Committee Administrator in 1986 and later that year following organisational changes he took up his final post as Principal Democratic Services Officer until his retirement in 2014.

"David saw many changes in local government over the last 50 years which included working under seven town clerks and chief executives. He always provided an exceptional service in his work and was thought of fondly by colleagues and members. He was known as 'the Oracle' because of his breadth of knowledge and experience," said Karen Tompkins, Head of Democracy at Bournemouth Council.

Jim Keeping, David's friend for many years, grew up with him in Boscombe, and both attended Porchester School. He has happy memories of them as children going to the Carlton Cinema Saturday matinee to watch an adventure film or cartoon followed by seeing Cherries play at Dean Court. On Sundays they played football at King's Park and went to the Roxy Cinema on Holdenhurst Road to see a cartoon or a comedy.

"To finance these hobbies in the holidays they would go around Boscombe with a cart collecting newspapers and magazines and take them to a scrap merchant in Springbourne. We also did paper rounds," said Jim.

When the boys left Porchester, David went to work at Bournemouth Town Hall and Jim joined the army. Their friendship continued as Jim sent David a postcard of wherever he was stationed, including a rare card from the Falklands, and David would pin them all up on the wall at work.

"In 1966 when I was posted in Cyprus I received letters from David to say that he had bought two blocks of ten for all the England games during the World Cup, nine of them at Wembley. I was able to get back to England where we stayed with David's aunt Jean, to watch the games. We also saw the Euro 96 games at Wembley and the England v Scotland match when Gascoigne scored that memorable goal," said Jim.

They saw Hampshire County Cricket win the county championship at Dean Park in Bournemouth in 1961. David also played cricket for Moordown as a wicket keeper in the Bournemouth Cricket League in the 1970s.

David and his brothers Tony and Jim were life members of Boscombe Conservative Club.

David died of cancer in the Royal Bournemouth Hospital on April 27. His funeral at Bournemouth Crematorium on May 18 was well attended by many local dignitaries, including former mayors Eddie Coope and Chris Mayne.