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Former editor who led weekly for 12 years dies at 78

A former editor who worked at a weekly newspaper for 12 years has died of pneumonia at the age of 78.

Sheena Crawley, left, was editor of the Harrow Observer and worked at the title from 1988 to 2000 as part of a career in newspapers and magazines.

She started working in her native Scotland for Glasgow’s The Herald and the Daily Record before moving to South Africa for 11 years, where she worked on Fairlady magazine and the Rhodesian Herald.

On her return to the UK, Sheena worked as features editor for Women’s Own magazine then for the Ealing Gazette, before joining the Harrow title.

Three years ago, Sheena moved into a care home suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and tributes have been paid to her after her death on Monday from pneumonia.

Her partner Marina Whitling told the Observer: “She was a force in everyone’s lives and a dynamic woman. She had such a spark. I know that she was a fantastic editor as well.

“Her colleagues would say that she wasn’t easy, but she was fair. They all had a lot of respect for her.”

Tom Black, who was deputy editor of the Harrow Observer in the 1990s, said: “Sheena had many of the best qualities of an old-school editor. A strong instinct for a story and the determination to see it onto the page. She was also a popular ambassador for the paper in the community.

“Always fair and open in her dealings with staff, she was not without a fiery side and her presence in the newsroom was never in doubt. She nurtured many young reporters, who went onto forge careers beyond weekly newspapers.”

In her retirement, Sheena gained an Open University degree in English literature and co-published a book of local writings.

She had also started writing her own book about her time in Africa, Zimbabwe Blues, but did not have chance to finish it before her death.

Sheena had four children, Andy, Alan, Jan and Helen, and nine grandchildren.

Her funeral will be held at Golders Green Crematorium next Tuesday at 11am.


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  • November 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Sheena and I were news editors, then editors, with Southnews. She was simply a class act – a big personalilty and a consummate professional. My sympathies go out to her family and close friends.

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  • November 7, 2013 at 7:28 am

    thank you Anthony..Sheena was my mum she was a class act as a mother to. She is so missed by us all.

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