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‘Perfect colleague’ who was PA to four daily editors dies aged 71

Pam YoungA “perfect colleague” who worked for a regional daily for more than 40 years has died aged 71 after suffering oesophogeal cancer.

Tributes have been paid to Pam Young, left, who worked as personal assistant to four editors of Stoke daily The Sentinel.

Described by former colleagues as “part of The Sentinel’s history”, Pam saw her role expanded into supervisory and departmental management over the course of her career.

She also wrote a badminton column throughout her time with the newspaper, and was a founder and organiser of the Stoke-on-Trent Sports Awards.

Pam joined The Sentinel in 1963, aged 16, as a copy-taker in the newsroom, and was given a trial as secretary to editor John Tupholme three months later.

She retired from the role 40 years later having worked for a further three editors, but still “on probation” because the end of her trial was never officially recognised.

Sean Dooley, the last of the four editors she worked with, told The Sentinel: “[Pam was] the perfect colleague. Helpful, friendly and supremely efficient; she carried out a demanding set of duties as editor’s PA with discretion and sensitivity and held the full respect of everyone she dealt with.

“Pam was well-known and highly regarded in sporting and business circles in North Staffordshire and it was her lifelong interest in sport, playing and reporting on badminton, that led to her wider public role as organiser of the sports awards – a position she held with great distinction until her retirement.

“Her passion for successfully developing the awards lay in the opportunities it gave to thousands of people to be recognised for their achievements, whether world champions or runners-up in small competitions. It typified both her love of sport and of her native North Staffordshire.”

Former Sentinel news editor David Leake said: “I don’t think it too fanciful to say that Pam became part of The Sentinel’s history – an enduring part of its human fabric. She was also a gifted sportswoman.”

And retired Sentinel journalist Virginia Heath added: “Pam set and maintained the highest of standards in her work, though she went about it in a quiet, unassuming way on a daily basis.”

Pam met Carol Jones, her partner of 36 years, through badminton and the couple celebrated their relationship with a civil partnership in 2006.

Carol, who was with Pam when she died at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, said: “Pam died of cancer of the oesophagus and related conditions on September 25. She bore her illness with her usual calmness, good humour and lack of drama although she was in terrible pain.”

Pam is also survived by sister Sue, brothers Billy and Roy, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. Her funeral was held on 9 October.