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Local newspaper founder dies aged 56 after six-year cancer battle

Deborah HolmesThe founder of a local newspaper who went on to a successful career in business has died aged 56.

Tributes have been paid to Deborah Holmes, left, who launched monthly publication the Stocksbridge Trader in the late 1980s.

Deborah later switched the Trader’s publication frequency to weekly before selling it to the Barnsley Chronicle.

She later formed a family business with her husband Mark Dransfield, called Dransfield Properties Ltd, in 1992.

During her six-year fight with cancer, Deborah also launched and headed boutique department store Sandersons, based at the company’s flagship Fox Valley development in the heart of her hometown of Stocksbridge.

Mark told the Yorkshire Post: “Debs fought her illness with courage and dignity, she is a true inspiration to all who knew her.

“Her passion for life and family never wavered and we will miss her dreadfully.”

Deborah had two daughters, Rebecca, 23, and Lucy, 20, and is also survived by sister Amanda, herself a journalist who previously worked at the Lincolnshire Echo, Sheffield Star and Yorkshire Post.

Amanda said: “Debs loved being a mum to her girls. She was absolutely devoted to them and they were most definitely the reason she fought so hard to live. Her amazing determination now lives on in them.”

Deborah died peacefully surrounded by her loved ones on 2 January at St Luke’s Hospice, Sheffield.

Her funeral will be held at St Mary’s Church, Bolsterstone, Sheffield, on Saturday 12 January at 10am, followed by a private cremation.