Lynda Cleasby - Ex-women's editor, Western Daily Press

Lynda
Cleasby, for several years women’s editor of the Western Daily Press
and the first female assistant editor in the newspaper’s history, died
from cancer a few days after her 50th birthday.

She left the
Daily Press two years ago to pursue a career in public relations, but
was diagnosed with cancer only a few months into her new post and
underwent major surgery late in 2003.

A spell of rigorous
chemotherapy put her in remission and allowed her to return to work
last summer, but despite complaining of feeling unwell soon after
Christmas, she worked on at Harrison Cowley public relations in Queen
Square, Bristol, until three weeks ago.

Secondary cancer was detected, along with associated blood clotting, and doctors declared her condition inoperable.

She died in hospital in Margate, Kent, not far from the Ashford home of her mother and stepfather, Connie and Bill Graham.

Cleasby
was in daily journalism for 18 years on three of Britain’s leading
regional titles, morning papers the Northern Echo and Western Daily
Press and the Express and Star in Wolverhampton, one of England’s
largest-circulating evening newspapers.

She also worked freelance shifts for Today and the Daily Telegraph, and occasionally broadcast with HTV.

She
came to the Daily Press as a features sub-editor in 1989. Later, as
women’s editor, she became known for writing sharp, witty articles with
attitude but most of all, for her vibrant and imaginative page designs.
Ostensibly flamboyant, vivacious and at ease with life, she was known
to her closest colleagues as a shy and insecure person Former art
editor Daily Mirror (Manchester) Former Islington Gazette chief
sub-editor with a phenomenal capacity for hard work. “What most people
thought they saw in Lynda was exactly what she wasn’t,” one of them
said.

She was appointed assistant editor (features) in 2002, but
a few months later a career change saw her move to head Strategy PR’s
publications division, where she worked in particular on Business Link
magazine, which recently won an industry award.

Strategy merged
with Harrison Cowley last year, and both companies proved exemplary and
supportive employers through both her periods of illness.

Briefly
married when young but fiercely independent through most of her adult
life, she returned to work last summer with renewed energy and optimism.

She bought a new flat in Clevedon, and took its various teething problems in her stride.

Her family was by her side when she died, Mr and Mrs Graham being joined by her sister Wendy and brother Christopher.

Heavy snow in Kent only added to their difficulties in her last week, but they formed a tight-knit support group around her.

By
a sad coincidence, she succumbed to the same aggressive small cell
melanoma from which her features editor colleague George Frew died in
2003.

John Hudson

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