'She had a huge heart': Regional reporter and magazine freelance Jannette McKenzie dies aged 69

Former regional reporter and magazine freelance Jannette McKenzie Lee died on 7 February aged 69.

Among weeklies she worked for were the Beckenham journal, West Somerset Free Press, South Yorkshire Times, Rotherham Advertiser and Doncaster Free Press.

Since she could remember, Jannette had always wanted to be a journalist.

As a girl in Beckenham, the much-loved daughter of a First World War veteran, she dreamed of writing, and after serving her apprenticeship on small weeklies she made a name for herself writing for the top women's magazines through her agency, J Lee Features. She cut her teeth with true-life tales working with David 'Tommo' Thomas at South West News.

She had a huge heart and cared about the people whose lives she shared through the pages of Best, Bella, Take A Break, Chat etc. And this, together with a keen eye and dogged determination and a nose for the news, brought in some wonderful true life stories.

Her friendly personality and caring nature were complemented by determination and single-mindedness, and a rare skill to put people at ease, and reflect their feelings in print.

She travelled all over the North to find her stories, and in setting up her own freelance business became well respected among magazine commissioning editors.

Retirement was a wrench for her, because she loved her profession so much, but she managed to ease out of work and enjoy reading. Books, authors and literature were among her great passions from childhood, and together with medieval history were her great hobbies.

She leaves a husband, retired journalist Peter, and a brother Andrew.

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