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First female journalist to work on Weston Mercury dies

The mother of Jeffrey Archer, who died as his trial neared a close this week, was the first female journalist to work on the Weston & Somerset Mercury.

In May 1949 Lola Archer took up her post at the Mercury with a column Over the Teacups: News and Jottings: for Women.

For nine years her weekly column informed and amused readers with antics of her son, Jeffrey – under a pseudo name, ‘Tuppence’.

When Lola joined the paper there was not even a toilet for women, as it had been a strictly male domain.

In 1956 Lola was widowed and held down several jobs to make ends meet, including some recording work for the BBC.

A year later she was elected to Weston Borough Council, serving on the council for two terms, and published holiday guides for local visitors in Weston, Burnham and Highbridge until the 1970s.

When her son began writing books, she would proof read the manuscripts.

Lola invited Lord Archer to head a Mercury appeal to provide a disabled lift at a local theatre, and encouraged friends to buy sponsored plaques, and attended a star-studded concert with her son, his wife Mary and her two grandsons to raise cash.

She is survived by sons Jeffrey and David, daughter Wendy, adopted daughter, Elizabeth Tremain, and grandsons William and David.

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