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Death of former reporter and news agency founder

A former Bolton Evening News journalist who went on to set up her own news and feature agency has died after a short illness.

Joan Williams began her career on Cheshire weekly the Alderley, Wilmslow and Knutsford Advertiser, and became well known as an experienced and energetic news reporter and an accomplished feature writer.

Born Joan Madaleine Hewitt, she was brought up in a small village near Alderley Edge Cheshire, where her father, Arthur, was a freelance journalist, and took her first steps in journalism as a junior reporter on the Advertiser where she met her husband, John.

When he moved to the Evening Sentinel in Stoke-on-Trent, she followed and joined the City Times, a weekly paper, and after their marriage they moved to Bury where Joan worked on the Bury Times before joining the Bolton Evening News.

Later the couple moved to Goostrey in Cheshire, where Joan set up regional news and feature agency, Space Press News and Pictures.

She also co-founded with her husband and two partners, a local free newspaper, the Town and Country Post, which is now part of the Community News series.

Until her semi-retirement three years ago Joan also covered Knutsford Crown Court, sending reports of trials to national and local media, and championing the cause to keep the court open when it was threatened with closure.

Maurice Weaver, a family friend and former Daily Telegraph journalist, said: “Joan always displayed as a reporter an unflappability and pragmatism that also served her well in running the commercial side of their businesses.”

Joan leaves her husband, John, their daughters Emma and her older sister, Penny, who lives with her husband and two children in Sydney, Australia.

The funeral service is at St Luke’s parish church, Goostrey, on Friday at 12.30pm.