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Tributes paid after former court reporter dies at 68

A former court reporter who worked at a regional daily for 25 years has died at the age of 68.

Carol Saunders, left,¬†worked at Plymouth’s The Herald for 25 years after previously working at the Express and Star in Wolverhampton, where she became the women’s editor at the age of 21.

She was the Herald’s longest-serving reporter when she retired four years ago, serving under six editors, and a farewell event was held at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court.

Tributes have been paid to Carol after she died at home from a pulmonary embolism.

Her former editor, Bill Martin, who is now at the helm of the Western Morning News, said she was “almost the archetypal local newspaper journalist” of her era.

He said: “She was really dedicated, really hardworking and a chain smoker. She was completely reliable. You could not ask for a safer pair of hands for a story.”

The Herald’s former head of content, Mike Bramhall, who worked with her on both papers, said: “She was the queen of the newsroom at the Express and Star and it was the same on The Herald.

“Carol used to dig out some great stories because of her ability to chat to people of all ages and backgrounds.

“She was a very kind, very generous, very bubbly person. She was very glamorous, a girl-about-town in her sports car when she was younger and like an auntie to all the younger people in the newsroom when she was older.”

During Carol’s time at the Express and Star, she interviewed the Beatles and met the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, while also sharing a jokey kiss with American singer Harry Belafonte while on a travel writing assignment in San Francisco.

While at The Herald, she teamed up with a fishmonger for a 1 April spoof where parts of a conger and a cuttlefish were stitched together and the creature put on display in Plymouth Market as a “squeel”, which was claimed to have been extinct for 2,500 years.

She also helped to make a fundraising appeal for the Plymouth and District Leukaemia Fund a success.

Carol leaves two daughters, Charlotte and Tara, and two grandsons.