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'Talented and tenacious' reporter dies aged 26

A “talented and tenacious” local press journalist has died of cancer aged 26 shortly after celebrating his first wedding anniversary.

Richard Woolley joined the Ripley and Heanor News as a reporter in 2004 before joining sister title the Matlock Mercury, also as a reporter.

He then returned to Ripley as a sub-editor in spring last year, not long before he was taken ill with leukaemia.

Richard, pictured above with wife Mary, battled the disease with bravery and a sense of humour, even planning to do this year’s London Marathon in aid of the Anthony Nolan Trust but was too ill to take part.

Mary, also 26, said: “It’s going to be hard to face the future without him but I feel so lucky to have had him in my life for nine very happy and special years.

“He will always be in my heart and I’m so proud to have had him as my husband.

“He was so brave throughout his treatment and handled it quite matter-of-fact and with a sense of humour.

“He fought until the end but passed away with the dignity and peace he deserved.”

Richard underwent chemotherapy last year and came out of hospital in September so he and Mary could get married but doctors told him three months ago there was nothing more they could do, so he decided to stop having treatment.

Matlock Mercury editor Amanda Hatfield said: “He was a talented and tenacious reporter with a dry wit which could always be relied on to lift the newsroom in times of stress.

“He enjoyed championing the community and relished fighting the establishment for his readers. We miss him very, very much.”

Richard, who died last Thursday, is survived by his wife, parents Michael and Sally, sister Emma and step mother Marion.

His funeral takes place on Tuesday at 9.30am at the Annunciation Church, in Spencer Street, Chesterfield, followed by a wake at the Riverside Club, Chesterfield.

The family has requested donations be made to their chosen leukaemia charity on the day instead of flowers.

  • You can leave your memories of Richard on Lasting Tribute.
  • Comments

    Bob Woolley (29/10/2009 17:00:19)
    You were and are, a true inspiration to us all. There are only a few chosen ones that can affect so many peoples lives in such a positive way, and you were one of those. A true modern day Messiah. Richard your memory will live on forever. Just as your soul will now be moving on to the highest of all plains.
    May you fly with the Angels.

    hackette (30/10/2009 10:30:15)
    What a lovely tribute from his wife. This sad yet inspiring story puts all our moans about the dire state of our profession in context, however justified they are.
    Sounds a brave guy. RIP.

    Kelly & Darren Grant (30/10/2009 12:36:13)
    What a Beautiful photo of Richard & Mary. Lovely memories you have to cherish and hope the support of everyone gives you all comfort and strength. We cherish the memory of your wonderful wedding and meeting up recently for lunch; where despite everything you all were recovering from the muddy festival all a little tired but living each day to the full til the end with such great humour and spirit. Lots of love to Mary,
    Uncle M, Marion & Emma from Kelly, Darren, Taylor, Liam & Skye. xxxxxx

    Sue & Jim Phillips (30/10/2009 15:17:17)
    What a fantastic tribute to Rich. Another star taken to brighten up the night skies and look down upon us! Loads of love to my brother Mike, Marion, Mary, Sally & Emma. x

    Nan Rosie (30/10/2009 15:22:38)
    Richard the Brightest Star by far! Watching down over us all. Lots of love to Mary, Michael, Sally, Marion & Emu.
    (Looking forward to giving you all a hug on Monday)!
    x x x x x x x x x x x

    Glenn Ebrey (30/10/2009 15:22:39)
    I trained with Richard at Highbury College and he was an absolute diamond. Genuinely the funniest person I ever have met, a brilliant journalist and a great bloke. The best drinking buddy and pub quiz partner a man could wish for.
    RIP mate.

    Stephen and Katherine Sinfield (04/11/2009 17:42:57)
    I worked alongside Richard for a number of years at the Ripley and Heanor News.
    I remember helping him when he came on work experience and have many fond memories of working alongside him on some really great stories.
    Most notable were the elections when we drove back from Alfreton in the early hours of the morning to sit and write three pages full of reports – we had been at work since 9am and it was now pushing 3am the following morning, but the laughter and banter was still there.
    I also remember the time when the editor sent us home because it was snowing bad in Ripley and we both lived a distance from the office. We got to the A38 island in Ripley and the snow had stopped, the roads were clear and the sun was shining. Did we go back to work – no chance.
    A really great bloke. RIP
    Steve Sinfield
    Former Ripley and Heanor News / Belper News/ Ilkeston Advertiser reporter.

    Charlotte White (23/12/2009 11:39:18)
    So very sorry to hear – belatedly – of Richard’s death. I worked with Richard at the Matlock Mercury for a year and was very impressed by his talent and attitude to work. He was also a very likeable colleague and friend. My heart-feltp commiserations to Mary and his family.