Former Leigh Reporter and St Helens Star editor Lesley Richards has died after a what a friend described as a ‘private and courageous battle with cancer’aged 62.
Lesley, a Leigh-born girl who started her journalistic career with the Reporter as a 17 year old, was later editor for nearly 20 years. In between she worked on the Wigan Observer, Wigan Evening Post and edited the St Helens Star (1973-75). During her time at the Reporter raised thousands of pounds for local charities.
She was also a trustee and fundraiser for the ‘Save Hilton Park’fund when Leigh Rugby Club had earlier financial worries over their ground.
In her teens Lesley was an English Schools junior hurdles champion and Lancashire Schools champion in 1963, 1964 and 1965 and also an Olympic Games hopeful, but she declined the opportunity of specialist training.
Paying tribute to her, former Reporter colleague and now Coronation Street actor Dave Dutton said: ‘Lesley was a good reporter who had the best interests of the community in her thoughts and words.
‘I spoke to her a week or so before she died and she sounded in high spirits because her new chemo treatment seemed to be working better, which made it more of a shock when I learned she had died.
‘She was a Lancashire schoolgirl champion hurdler but her illness sadly proved a hurdle too far.”
After leaving the Reporter, Lesley became a Leigh Journal columnist . She retired when diagnosed with cancer last year and died peacefully in Royal Preston Hospital on Thursday, 27 October.
Her funeral will be at Howe Bridge Crematorium in Atherton this Friday (4 November) at 10.45am, conducted by Church of England lay reader and former Journal editor Malcolm Ryding.
Any donations will go to Wigan and Leigh Hospice.