Popular Western Morning News columnist Lynne Curry has died from cancer, aged 48.
She began writing for the WMN in 1995 after settling in Somerset with her husband Martin Whitfield, also a journalist.
Editor Barrie Williams, who was her boss both in Nottingham and in Plymouth, paid tribute to the gifted writer who became a much-loved weekly contributor.
He said: “Lynne first came to work for me as a young reporter on the Nottingham Evening Post in the early 1980s.
“It soon became evident that she had a special writing talent and in no time she was tackling top writing and feature assignments and developing a unique style and a strong rapport with readers.
“Her writing was exceptional but even so she would still tackle everyday jobs like courts and council committees without a word of complaint or disdain. She was a superb professional.
“After she married Martin and left Nottingham I had lost contact with her until I arrived at the Western Morning News in 1995.
“The first welcome letter on my desk was from Lynne who had settled in Somerset and gave me a typically very amusing list of do’s and don’ts with which to tackle life in the Westcountry. Immediately I offered her a WMN column. Immediately she accepted and until her recent illness she had written that column every week ever since.
“Her work was always a joy; always very readable and provocative, forthright, funny, occasionally waspish but never malicious and never unfair. She was quite simply one of the best journalists ever to grace the regional newspaper industry and her untimely death is just tragic.”
A keen walker and cyclist, Lynne often wrote of her environmental concerns and spoke forthrightly on pollution and what she called “the tyranny of the car”. She and Martin had not run a car for about ten years, preferring to walk, cycle or use public transport.
Lynne and Martin started their life together in romantic style while he was cycling around the coast at Scarborough.
“We met and married within two months,” he said. “In our thirties, we were both a bit ‘elderly’ for a first marriage, but we definitely belonged together.”
The couple set up home in London where Martin was working for the Independent, and Lynne was offered a job on the Evening Standard. But she never really took to the city and after about a year they opted to move to the Westcountry.
Later they settled in Frome in a converted water mill. The couple set up a cottage industry producing maps for cyclists.
“On our tenth anniversary, we cycled back to Scarborough on a tandem. That was marvellous,” said Martin.
They were just two weeks away from celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary.
As well as her weekly column, Lynne wrote opinion and feature pieces for the WMN, on one occasion riding her bike from Cornwall to Bristol on the Westcountry Way and colourfully reporting on her experiences along the way.
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