Joan Williams

Travel journalist Joan M Williams has died in Hope Hospital, Salford, Greater Manchester, after a brief illness.

She was well known for her contributions to national, regional and local newspapers, both as an experienced and energetic news reporter and an accomplished feature writer.

For many years she specialised in travel journalism. On a trip to Greenland, she was involved in an accident with a dog sled, sustaining a leg injury that left a scar for life.

Born Joan Madaleine Hewitt, she was brought up near Alderley Edge, where her father Arthur was a freelance journalist.

She took her first steps in journalism as a junior reporter on her local weekly, the Alderley, Wilmslow and Knutsford Advertiser, where she met her husband, John, a reporter colleague.

When her husband moved to the Evening Sentinel in Stoke-on-Trent, she followed and joined the City Times, a weekly paper.

After their marriage, they moved to Bury, where Joan worked on the Bury Times before joining the Bolton Evening News, where she became municipal correspondent.

John worked on the Manchester Evening News and later joined the northern staff of The Daily Telegraph.

In 1968 they moved to Goostrey, Cheshire, where they brought up their family and refurbished a centuries-old cottage which Joan joked had been "a hobby in itself".

At their home she established a regional news and feature agency, Space Press News and Pictures, and cofounded with her husband and two partners, a local free newspaper, the Town and Country Post.

Until her semi-retirement three years ago, when she researched her family history, Joan also covered Knutsford Crown Court, sending reports of trials to the national and local press and broadcast media, and championing the cause to keep the court open when it was threatened with closure.

In recent years, they disposed of Town and Country Post, now part of the Community News series of papers with offices in Macclesfield.

But the family's journalistic traditions continue through their daughter, Emma, a professional photographer.

Maurice Weaver, a family friend and former Daily Telegraph journalist, said: "Joan always displayed as a reporter an unflappability and pragmatism that also served her well in running the commercial side of their businesses."

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