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Former bi-weekly chief sub dies after fall aged 55

Caroline JonesA former regional chief-sub-editor who once set fire to a reporter’s copy before going on to a Fleet Street career has died aged 55 after a fall.

Tributes have been paid to Caroline Jones, who spent more than 20 years as a production journalist at the Guardian after beginning working life at newspapers in South London.

Spells at the South East London Mercury and the South London Press preceded her time in the national press.

It was while at the bi-weekly press, where she served as chief sub-editor, that she once set fire to a piece of copy to “demonstrate what she thought of it.”

Former SLP editor Simon O’Neill said: “She had a relentless work ethic, an obsession with accuracy and a great eye for a headline.”

Born in Bromley, the daughter of a Fleet Street printer father and secretary mother, Caroline studied politics and sociology at Warwick University, and journalism in Hastings.

After staring out on the Deptford-based Mercury as a trainee reporter, she switched to subbing before her move to the Press.

Caroline followed her friend Ev Bramble, a former colleague at the Mercury and the SLP, to the Guardian, where she spent more than two decades working.

In an obituary in the newspaper, former colleague Rebecca Dargie said: “She was one of the most empathic people I have known, sometimes moved to tears when telling me of something that had gone wrong for anyone she loved.

“We came to rely on her zeal in the marking of an occasion – arranging a sweepstake, making a front page for a retiring colleague or organising a subs’ outing.”

Passionate about sport, Caroline followed West Ham United, as well as the English national sides in both cricket and football.

She also part-owned a racing greyhound for a time.

Caroline is survived by partner Martin, who she met in 1984 at the duty-free counter of a cross-Channel ferry, her mother, her two brothers, Clive and Richard, and her stepfather, Brian.

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  • February 24, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    You taught me to write, made my copy sparkle, took me for my first ever curry and taught me the art of casting off (old subs will understand!) I’m so glad I had the chance to work with you. Such a tragedy. RIP Jonesy.

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