Veteran journalist and Lincolnshire Echo columnist Bette Vickers has died following a long battle with cancer.
Bette, a 74-year-old widow, passed away peacefully in her sleep at Lincoln County Hospital.
Born in Yorkshire, she lived in Lincolnshire for 63 years and began her newspaper career at the Lincoln Chronicle after first running her own nursery school business.
She became known to thousands for her acute observations, down-to-earth attitude, humour and strong Christian faith, and all were shared in her Lincolnshire Echo columns Church Lines, Bette’s Bygones and Vickers in a Twist.
Echo editor Mike Sassi said: “Bette was an excellent journalist and an exceptional personality.
“She was loved and respected in equal measure by her friends, colleagues and readers.
“She was a fabulous raconteur and story-teller, which is why everyone loved being around her.
“She will be very, very sorely missed. The newsroom just will not be the same without her.”
Bette’s former colleagues also paid tribute, remembering her for her wise words, tasty titbits and sense of fun.
Former Echo editor Cliff Smith said: “Bette’s irrepressible personality brought her countless friends and admirers.
“She could not walk down the street or into a meeting without being greeted from all sides.
“I thought when I first employed her at the Echo that her role would be more routine than frontline. I could not have been more wrong.
“Her drive and energy were such that she totally ignored the passing years.”
Lincolnshire Life editor Judy Theobald said: “Bette was a great friend who kept her sense of humour and her spirit to the end.
“We never knew her age. I used to send her happy 80th birthday cards!”
Another former colleague, Market Rasen Mail editor Jason Hippisley, said: “Although not a Yellowbelly by birth, Bette was Lincolnshire to the core.
“Her humour was infectious, mischievous and keen. By heck, she called a spade a spade, didn’t suffer fools and made some mean mince pies.”
Echo Gossiper Peter Brown added: “Bette was a wonderful character.
“I have never met anyone with such strength of character. She was respected and admired by everyone who knew her.
“There will never be another Bette.”
Bette leave a son, Neil, daughter Stephanie, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.