Phyl White, journalist and a prolific writer of letters, died at the Middlesex Hospital, London, aged 67.
was the widow of Bill White who, in December 1968, after finishing a
late shift on London’s Evening Standard , was killed by a drunken
driver as he stepped off the pavement to cross the road outside the
Mirror building in Holborn.
Faced with having to bring up her
children alone, Phyl made a courageous effort to rebuild her life. She
went to work on Birmingham’s Evening Mail, with her brother Bob
Procter, where she excelled with regular front page exclusives.
the shock of her husband’s death, and struggling to bring up her
children, proved too much. She was overcome with depression and later
diagnosed with a bipolar condition.
She started her career as a
trainee reporter on the Faversham News and went on to the Middlesex
Independent , the Stratford Express and the Evening Advertiser in
She then joined the Yorkshire Evening News where she met her husband, Bill, a reporter for the local news agency.
While working for the Reveille newspaper, she was famously fired for refusing to cut short her unfashionably long auburn hair.
World’s Press News quoted Phyl’s defiant explanation: “I refuse to be a
slot machine journalist and look like everybody else.”
heard of her death, a former colleague remarked: “Let’s hope St Peter
doesn’t attempt, like the misguided editor of Reveille, to clip her
hair, or wings or cramp her style.”
Phyl was the daughter of the late Harry Procter, an investigative reporter on the Sunday Pictorial .
Two other daughters, Val Lewis and Madeline Clark, are journalists.
is survived by her three children, Rebecca, William and Pollyanna, and
five grandchildren, Georgina, William, Oliver, Sarah and Amy.