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Retired journalist dies days after death of fellow weekly editor

JoyRolstonA retired journalist who edited a now-defunct weekly has died aged 80 – just days after another former editor of the same title.

Joy Rolston, formerly Somerville, edited the Armagh Guardian before leaving to set up her own freelance business.

Her death follows that of Portadown journalist Victor Gordon, who also edited the same paper, earlier this month.

Joy, who died last Saturday, was regarded as a pioneering reporter in Northern Ireland, starting her career in an era when the majority of its journalists were men.

One contemporary said: “Joy was a legend in Armagh. Everyone knew her work and respected her as a tireless and fair reporter who covered the Troubles for a wide range of newspapers and broadcasters.

“She was flamboyant and she could be feisty, but she never missed a story.”

Joy, pictured above, began her career on the Portadown Times before moving to Armagh.

She reported on a massive number of terrorist incidents in Co Armagh, including the murders of the Speaker of the old Stormont parliament Sir Norman Stronge and his son James at their historic home at Tynan Abbey near Caledon.

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson, a former mayor of Armagh, said: “Joy was an all-encompassing journalist who had her finger on the pulse of every facet of news coming out of Armagh and district.”

Fellow Co Armagh journalist Billy Kennedy added:” She was totally reliable. You could always depend on Joy to file as much detail as you needed for a story, no matter what the hour, day or night.”

Away from her work Joy was a keen supporter of the arts, and sponsored a cup at Armagh Speech and Drama Festival.

Joy was pre-deceased by her husband John. Her funeral service was held on Monday.