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Newsroom mourns popular sub-editor after fatal stroke

Tributes have been paid to a former regional daily features editor who has died from a stroke at the age of 45.

Emma Farmer, who worked at the Shropshire Star as a sub-editor on its Shropshire Magazine, was taken ill earlier this month while on a fishing trip with her partner to mark her birthday.

It later emerged that she had suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a type of stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain.

Emma, pictured above, underwent emergency surgery but nothing could be done to save her and she died on 10 July.

Her partner Stan Talbot told the Star: “She opened her presents for her birthday and we went up to Chorley Springs where we went fishing.

“She had just caught the biggest carp either of us had ever seen. She’d sometimes say ‘Come and help me with this’ if it was a big one but this time she said she wasn’t feeling well. Then she collapsed and that was that.”

Yorkshire-born Emma joined the Star’s sister paper the Express & Star in 1998, having previously worked for the Press Association.

She rose to become features editor on the E&S before moving to the Star’s offices in Ketley.

Shropshire Magazine editor Neil Thomas said: “Emma was not only an extremely talented journalist but a pleasure to work with.

“She brought considerable flair and expertise to the magazine but was always in a modest and understated way. She will be hugely missed.”

Shropshire Star columnist Peter Rhodes, who worked with Emma for more than a decade, said: “Emma was brilliant. She had an amazing eye for detail and was utterly dedicated to the job in hand.

“She was never a clock-watcher. If the job meant starting early or finishing hours after everyone else had gone home, Emma was there. She had a wonderfully dry North Country sense of humour and she will be terribly missed.”

Mr Talbot, of Hammerwich, also paid tribute to his partner of two years.

He said: “Emma loved life and she loved people. She would always try to help her colleagues. She loved them as well; they were her friends.”

“She loved the challenge of the job and she worked very hard at it. But she also loved her holidays, either going away for two weeks or a few days or just going fishing.”

Emma’s funeral will be at Streetly Crematorium on Friday 25 July at 11.15am followed by a wake at the Redmore Inn in Hayfield Hill, Cannock Wood.

13 comments

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  • July 18, 2014 at 10:25 am
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    Emma was a great colleague and friend, a ferocious squash player and a constant source of common sense who always saw journalism from the readers’ point of view. I cannot believe she has gone.

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  • July 18, 2014 at 3:05 pm
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    The most lovely lady with a wicked sense of humour. Emma worked in my team for three years up until her death, and was a pleasure to be around. Nothing was too much hassle, so loved her job and loved her colleagues as much as we loved her. She will be be sorely missed.

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  • July 18, 2014 at 5:13 pm
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    An immensely talented journalist and a wonderful addition to any features desk, gone far too soon. Like Peter, I’m still trying get my head around this one. RIP Emma.

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  • July 18, 2014 at 8:56 pm
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    Shocked and saddened to hear this news. I worked with Emma at PA, and was always impressed by her colossal talent and capacity for hard work. Proud to have known her. RIP Emma

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  • July 19, 2014 at 7:33 am
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    Emma was one of the best I worked with during my time at the E&S and her flair and dedication was second to none. She will be sadly missed by all her colleagues and friends. I cannot believes has gone.

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  • July 19, 2014 at 12:53 pm
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    I was shocked and saddened to learn of Emma Farmer’s untimely death. Emma was one of the first people I got to know under the bright lights of Wolverhampton head office when I joined the Express & Star as a feature writer in December 1998. We became good friends and I treasure some of the chats we had and moments we shared, particularly across the road in the Press wine bar!

    While our initial closeness did not fully last my time at the E&S was greatly enriched by working alongside her. When I switched from writing to page layout in about 2003, it was often Emma’s task to help this clueless scribe understand the intricacies of QuarkXPress and learn the baffling key combinations which to her came effortlessly. It was then that I truly appreciated how talented, hard-working and incredibly efficient she was.

    Emma’s personal qualities were equally impressive. She had a great interest in other people and a love for them – colleagues and readers alike; a wily understanding of what makes us all tick and a wicked, infectious sense of humour. These are great qualities for a journalist to have. Rest in peace, Emma, we will all miss you hugely.

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  • July 21, 2014 at 5:00 pm
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    Emma was a hugely respected colleague, known for her professionalism, sharp wit and wicked laugh. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her at the MNA. Her death is an absolute tragedy and our thoughts are with her family and friends.

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  • July 22, 2014 at 8:28 am
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    As a close colleague I knew that Emma was in a “good place”, having found happiness with her partner Stan – that’s why her passing is all the more tragic. Although complete opposites, we enjoyed good banter and I will miss her little quirks: eating peanut butter on toast for breakfast; lunch time “pilgrimages” to Poundland and that annoying habit of walking in and saying “happy Monday” when everyone had Monday morning blues. I was always in awe of Emma’s technical prowess – who will I call on now? Emma, you will be greatly missed by all your magazine colleagues. No-one can fill your shoes.

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  • July 22, 2014 at 8:13 pm
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    Emma was a real star – someone who when she was on features at the Express & Star encouraged and inspired people in the Black Country offices to write articles for her…She knew that we were very busy on news, but always managed to get one of us to do something for her…
    She was one of the most helpful and fair-minded people I ever worked with and was always to grateful for anything you produced…Peter Rhodes rightly mentioned her eye for detail and there was always a kindly reminder for us to get it right – accuracy was very important to her.
    Later she was to sub my gardening copy for the Wolverhampton and Shropshire Magazines and always produced wonderful pages – and yes, always chased me up for that extra detail. She loved working on the magazines – and we loved working with her. Lovely, lovely lady…

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  • July 25, 2014 at 1:30 pm
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    As a fellow northerner with a love of Rugby League I used to love talking to Emma about how her beloved Hull were getting on. I distinctly remember her revelling in how Hull Sharks had beaten bitter city rivals Hull KR one Monday morning in the E&S office. She loved telling me there had been a riot and one woman had been arrested for whacking people with her stilletoe heel!
    Emma was good fun and dedicated to her job. She didn’t hang about and I remember her whizzing about in her little Mini up and down the car park ramps. She came to my leaving do at the Hogs Head in March 2010 and wished me luck. That was the last time I saw her and missed her cheery face. Great loss to the industry. So sad – RIP Emma

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  • July 28, 2014 at 8:16 am
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    Emma was a great journalist and a good friend. Was lucky enough to have known her from her days at PA in the early 1990s. She will be sorely missed.

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  • July 29, 2014 at 11:38 am
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    I worked with Emma on the features desk at the Express and Star for three years and I was very saddened to hear of her sudden death. Emma was refreshingly honest, dedicated and had a proper Northern sense of humour. She will be missed.

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