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Tributes paid to weekly columnist who died aged 88

Mary WelshA teacher-turned -columnist who wrote on walking for a weekly newspaper in the Lake District has died aged 88.

Tributes have been paid to Mary Welsh, pictured left, who wrote 692 columns on the subject for the Westmorland Gazette over the years.

From 1985 to 1989 the Gazette published her four-book series ‘A Naturalist’s Guide to Lakeland Waterfalls throughout the year’, as well as a compilation of her walking columns that had appeared in the newspaper in 1995.

A teacher by profession, she was married to Tom Welsh, a former editor of the North Western Evening Mail and McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists, who died in 2014.

An obituary in the Gazette reads: “Mary was meticulous about checking and noting every stile and waymark, determined to ensure that her readers didn’t get lost.

“Her joy was in sharing the sights and sounds of the countryside she discovered. She had extensive knowledge of flora and fauna, and a passion for ornithology, identifying and delighting in birdsongs wherever she went.”

Mary grew up in Hemel Hempstead and began an interest in youth hostelling and walking during her teenage years, meeting Tom while on a trip to Devon in 1947.

She died on 11 January after a heart attack, and is survived by her two daughters, her two sons, their partners, and six grandsons, all of whom had often accompanied her on her walks.

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  • February 1, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    I never met Mary but reading her obit I was very sorry to read, for the first time, of the death in 2014 of her husband, Tom. When I started out as a journalism student at Regent Street Polytechnic in 1965, Tom was one of our lecturers and I never forgot his kindness and patience. He always found time to talk. I wish I’d made contact with him when I retired so I could thank this true gentleman of the Press. Condolences to their children.

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