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Weekly journalist who wrote under nom-de-plume dies aged 74

A journalist who wrote for a weekly newspaper under an assumed name for more than three decades has died aged 74.

Tributes have been paid to Sandra Watson, described as the “backbone” of the news team at the Fife Free Press over the course of more than 30 years.

However although regarded as one of the most respected journalists to have worked on the Free Press, her name never actually appeared in the paper, as she wrote under the by-line ‘Helen Wright’

Sandra died earlier this month and was remembered with a service at Kirkaldy Crematorium last week.

Sandra Watson, third left, with Fife Free Press colleagues

Sandra Watson, third left, with Fife Free Press colleagues

Born and educated in Kirkaldy, she first joined the Free Press in the 1970s, covering all the major stories of the time.

Specialising in political coverage, led the coverage of the events that led to the downfall of  Kirkcaldy District Council leader, Karen  Carrick.

Jerzy Morkis, editor of the Fife Free Press, 1993-2000 said: “Sandra was the backbone of the news gathering team during her time at the Fife Free Press, but her experience, knowledge and ability was something reporters across Fife, and much further afield, looked up to – she had the respect of all her peers and the trust of the community.

“She wasn’t interested in moving into a management role as her first love was always writing, and that was to all our benefit.

“Sandra gave the paper authority and gravitas, and filed some of the best copy it has published; she was also a remarkable character and a pleasure to work with and to know.”

Sandra retired from local journalism in 1995. Her husband Robin died shortly afterwards and she subsequently enjoyed a quiet retirement with the occasional holiday.