The Croydon Guardian’s leisure editor and seasoned journalist has died after a long battle with cancer.
Chrissie van Emst had been the Croydon Guardian’s leisure editor since the paper’s 2001 re-launch.
The married mum-of-two, (pictured left), had also worked for the Croydon Advertiser, the Express Group of newspapers and as a publicist for Westmead Business Group.
The Croydon Guardian’s acting editor, Helen Barnes, said: “Chrissie took each day as it came, with a smile on her face and a joke with friends and colleagues. Chrissie was not only a member of the team, she was also like a surrogate mum – always putting our needs before her own.
“Chrissie touched many people’s lives throughout her career and will be remembered for her quick wit and sense of humour, her warm nature and her passion for journalism and the arts.
“It was an honour to have worked with Chrissie and no one will be able to fill the gap that she has left. We have not just lost a colleague but a close friend.”
Arabella Sackett, a close friend and colleague of Chrissie, said: “Chrissie was just as she looked. Lovely, beautiful, bright, bubbly and brainy. She had a fantastic sense of humour. She showed unswerving loyalty to her friends and she will be deeply missed.”
The Croydon Advertiser’s Patsy Payne, who first knew Chrissie when they worked together on the Epsom Informer and Epsom Post, said: “Through all her suffering she remained positive about the future and only a week before she died she was telling me of phone interviews she had lined up to complete for her entertainments page.
“She loved her work and the people she met through her work, but most of all she loved her family. She had a natural motherly quality and was always there with the listening ear and sympathetic word, and for these gentle qualities she will be missed by many of us.”
The Croydon Guardian’s chief sub-editor, Gary O’Connell, added: “I’m always going to remember Chrissie smiling brightly and sharing a laugh. She was an unbelievably generous woman who loved championing music, theatre and dance but always put her family first. I admired her greatly and we will all miss her terribly.”
A full Roman Catholic Mass was held in honour of Chrissie in Carshalton ahead of her funeral at North Surrey Crematorium.
Her husband Tony and children Joe and Danielle made a special request that traditional mourning colours should not be worn, feeling instead that lighter colours would be more in keeping with Chrissie’s wishes.