The funeral has taken place of journalist Rosemarie Davies, who last week lost a seven-month fight against cancer, aged 45.
Her family, including her husband, Moses Terfouss, and mother, Gwen Alcock, were with her when she died at her Uttoxeter home.
The couple have a six-year-old son, Said, who was among the congregation paying their last respects at St Mary’s parish church.
The service was conducted by Reverend Dominic Stone who spoke of Rosemarie’s passion for life.
He said: “Rosie was passionate about many things. Her life has touched so many other lives. Because of this she represented all of us.
“Sometimes she spoke on our behalf. In a way she belonged to us all. She belonged to this town, and somehow was a voice of this place.” James Watson, a friend and work colleague at the Uttoxeter Post and Times, read out a tribute at the funeral, describing her as someone whose passion for journalism never dulled and who broke countless stories, both in the local and national press.
When he once asked her why she helped young reporters, like him, to develop their craft she replied: “If you enjoy your job, you want to give others that chance.” She also kept her black humour to the last, threatening to haunt him if his speech at her funeral was not good enough.
Rosemarie was taken on as a 17-year-old at the Burton Mail’s sister paper, The Uttoxeter Advertiser, working from an office in Market Street, where the newspaper was then based.
After completing her training she branched out on her own, setting up a freelance business called Samuels, named after her late father, Samuel.
During around a quarter of a century of reporting she covered many of the area’s major news stories for local and national newspapers and television stations. Many of her contacts were also her friends, including the late gipsy prize fighter Bartley Gorman – one of the Uttoxeter characters she so loved to write about – who also died of cancer last year.
Rosemarie was also a talented photographer and loved to take wedding pictures. Her hobbies included racing and antiques. She was a familiar figure with her red hair at Uttoxeter Racecourse, where she was on first-name terms with the jockeys and owners. Among her famous acquaintances was Zara Phillips, whom she met on her travels around different racecourses in the Midlands.
Mrs Alcock paid tribute to the courage of her daughter who was told she was terminally ill soon after being diagnosed with cancer in October.
She said: “They gave her six to nine months to live. She was very brave. She coped very well, better than any of us.
“I was very proud of her. She was good at her job. She worked very hard and rarely took a holiday. I will miss her terribly.
“She loved the job. She said she liked people with a character. She loved getting stories about characters.
“I don’t know where she got her brains from. No one else in the family was a journalist. She had a very exciting, full life. She could talk well to people from all backgrounds and she loved her son.” The reporter met her Moroccan husband on holiday in his native country.
They were married 10 years ago at Burton Register Office and had a reception at Uttoxeter Racecourse. She survived to see their anniversary in January and her son’s sixth birthday a month later.
She was determined to enjoy one last holiday to Sardinia in November with her family. After her return she became too ill to work at the Post and Times, where she was employed part-time, having given up freelancing.
Claire Shanahan, Burton Mail