Described by her former colleagues as a “supremely talented” journalist with an unparalleled contacts book, Ailsa started out on the Salford City Reporter – later the Advertiser – working the Eccles patch for many years.
She ended her days as a columnist for the MEN.
Tony Howard, who worked with Ailsa at the Advertiser between 2004 and 2010 , paid tribute to the “wonderful, kind, loving and selfless” woman he said touched hundreds of peoples’ lives throughout her career.
“The effect her passing will have on so many people, far and wide, will tell its own story,” he said.
“As a writer, working for too many years to recall, in and around Salford, she was supremely talented and had a huge influence on me and many other young reporters who cut their teeth alongside her.
“Her contacts book was unparalleled and in an industry that has changed beyond all recognition, she was a fantastic throw back to better times.”
He said she was “always the first with a witty remark”, and dedicated much of her spare time to caring for stray dogs in the area.
In her final column, published at the end of June and entitled My Birthday Avoidance was Doomed to Failure, she mentions her chest infection, saying it was the worst she had ever had.
In it, she bemoans the gaudy celebrations, useless birthday badges and saccharine greetings cards which accompanied the occasion, along with helium balloons and flowers sent by a mischievous colleague who knew her distaste for such items.
Tony added: “She didn’t know it, but despite her best attempts at being grumpy – even her column was called ‘Mithered of Monton’ – she brought sunshine to everyone’s gloom.
“The world has lost a huge swathe of kindness in her passing.”
The MEN has also today published a tribute to the “much-loved” journalist.
Editor-in-chief Rob Irvine said it was a “sad day” for staff.
“It is so very sad to lose a colleague and friend, and our newsroom will be a poorer place without Ailsa,” he added.
“Lots of people have been in touch to send their messages of condolence and to share their memories of a characterful and highly respected reporter who knew her own mind and inspired so many colleagues over the years. Ailsa will be sorely missed.”