Tributes paid to a true stalwart of local newspapers

FORMER Worthing Gazette reporter and Arun Gazette assistant editor Joan Humphrey died on Thursday. She was 93.

Joan spent more than 30 years working for Beckett Newspapers, former publisher of the Herald & Gazette series, where she started as a junior reporter, writing a column about women’s activities.

She gradually made a name for herself with her column, which she originally penned under the name ‘Felicity’, and went on to become a fully fledged reporter and, in later years, a sub-editor and assistant editor – after asking her editor why the column could not be written under her real name.

Neta Morris, 80, of Grand Avenue, Worthing, was a friend of Joan for 40 years.

She said: “I loved Joan. I became more than a friend, I have seen her through bad times and I have always been there for her.

“She really enjoyed life. She loved holidays, she loved embroidery and she enjoyed her work so much.”

She said Joan loved her church and received a special medal from the Pope, acknowledging her faith.

Neta’s mother-in-law owned the Frankland Arms, in Washington, and it was through Joan’s frequent visits to the pub to seek out stories for the paper that the pair met. They ended up living in the same block of flats and went on holidays together.

Joan retired from the Herald & Gazette in 1981. At the time, the papers featured an interview with her about her career, where she said how she had loved her time as a journalist and would not have wanted any other job.

She added: “Bringing out a newspaper every week is like having a baby every seven days. It’s a non-stop business.”

On her retirement, Joan was presented with bicycle, suitcase and other gifts.

Neta said since Joan’s retirement, her friend had suffered problems with her health, particularly struggling with her ability to walk.

Joan lived in Hampton Court, Worthing, before she was admitted to Worthing Hospital in February. She was later transferred to Salvington Lodge and then to Caer Gwent nursing home in Downview Road, Worthing. Neta said: “Caer Gwent have been absolutely marvellous. The treatment they gave her was fantastic and the support they gave me was terrific.”

Joan’s funeral will be held at St Charles’ Catholic Church, in East Worthing, at 9.30am on Tuesday, September 10, and then at Worthing Crematorium.

Donations in Joan’s memory can be made to St Barnabas House hospice via H.D. Tribe funeral directors, in Broadwater Road, Worthing, on 01903 234516.