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Tributes to journalist who campaigned to save town

A journalist who worked on the same newspaper for almost 40 years and once pursued Enoch Powell for a scoop has died aged 73.

Jackie Forster, who wrote under her maiden name Heap while women’s editor at the Blackpool Gazette, died at her Lancashire home following a short illness.

Known as ‘Heapie’ to her colleagues, Jackie started out as a junior reporter in 1950s in her teens, in the days when an archive system meant cutting out articles from the newspaper and sticking them to card.

During her time at the Gazette Jackie helped raise funds for a bone scanner, exposed rogue traders, once pursued Enoch Powell for a scoop, and began The Gazette’s Quality Street campaign, to halt the decline of Blackpool

She was said to have transformed the newspaper’s women’s coverage, through her work on the female section ‘Eve’, making it into a campaigning, charitable and fashionable reflection of reader’s lives.

She eventually retired in 1994 but continued to write on a freelance basis, and support local charities.

Former college Jacqui Morley said: “Her writing, like herself, was rather beautiful, spare, elegant, warm, compassionate, witty. Timing spot on.

“She knew how to start and end an article, just as she knew when to advise her daughter the ‘price of independence was loneliness’, and showed us all how to live – and leave – life gracefully and with great dignity. She died at home, her daughter and husband at her side.

“She was also a life member of the National Union of Journalists and a committed trade unionist – passionate in the face of injustice, pragmatic, prepared to man a picket line when she felt protest was the only option.”

Jackie once said newsprint was in her DNA as her father had been a linotype operator for the Gazette.

As a junior reporter she was crowned Douglas Carnival Queen after visiting the Isle of Man on holiday.

She met her first husband on a visit to Rome in 1961 and returned to the UK with their two-year-old daughter Caterina in 1964.  She later married architect Eric Forster in 1971.


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  • March 2, 2012 at 11:35 am

    It was always a pleasure working with Jackie, she was just as nice to stray casual subs as she was to everyone else. A lovely person, and an excellent journalist.

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