MARY-ANN Bloomfield, former Editor of the Mid Devon Gazette Series, has died suddenly at the age of 57.
The news came as a great shock both to the newspaper’s staff, and to her many friends in the community.
Mary-Ann, who was promoted to the role of Commercial Editor with Cornwall and Devon Media Ltd, the Gazette’s parent company, in January this year, died at the cottage she rented in the Cornish village of Devoran, near Truro. The family home remains in Cullompton, Devon.
It is believed that Mary-Ann died in her sleep on the night of April 26. She is survived by her husband Ian, and children Tom and Anna.
A post-mortem examination to discover the cause of death was due to be carried out on Tuesday (May 2nd).
After a career on a series of newspapers in the Midlands, including the Solihull News, the Birmingham Post and the Evesham Journal Series, in 1998 Mary-Ann successfully applied for the Deputy Editor’s role on the North Devon Journal and Mid Devon Gazette Series, where she was based at the Tiverton office, leading the team producing the Gazette.
The family settled in Cullompton, Devon, and Mary Ann forged a number of links with community organisations, including the Tiverton branch of the Soroptomists. She was also a supporter of several local organisations. She was a member of the Society of Editors during her time with the Gazette.
She threw herself both into the development of the Gazette Series and wider involvement in the community. She oversaw a redesign and restructure of the Gazette and the launch of a third edition of the paper, serving the Culm Valley.
In 2003, Mary Ann’s commitment and dedication was rewarded with promotion to outright editorship of the Mid Devon Gazette Series, where she continued to develop the title with passion and vigour.
Earlier this year, in recognition of her efforts for the community in Mid Devon during her time as Editor of the Gazette Series, Mary-Ann was named highly commended in Tiverton Town Council’s Citizen of the Year contest and was presented with her award in a ceremony at Tiverton.
In September last year, to commemorate her 40th year in journalism, Mary-Ann sponsored the match ball and acted as the mascot at a Tiverton Town match. She carried a bucket around the ground collecting for the journalists’ charity, the Newspaper Press Fund.
In January this year Mary-Ann was promoted to the role of Commercial Editor of CDM. In her new role she oversaw the editing of the company’s series of magazines, together with all its property and motoring editorial content. She had also recently masterminded the launch of a Freetime leisure supplement for several of the company’s newspapers.
The funeral will therefore be on Friday, May 12th, at 10am at the Church of St John the Evangelist and St Petroc, Devoran, near Truro and will be followed by a reception at the Alverton Manor Hotel, Truro.
Mary-Ann wrote a living will, which expressed certain wishes in relation to her funeral.
She would like there to be informal floral tributes (specifically white freesias and sweet peas) and she would like any monetary donations to be given to the Tiverton and District Hospital "expressly for comforts for the direct benefit of and enjoyment by nursing staff who work directly with patients."
On this latter point I am establishing with the hospital’s management exactly how they wish any such donations to be made out and I will report back on this.
Mary-Ann also wrote the following in her will: "I wish my funeral service to be open to all who wish to attend and request particularly that they should feel free to wear informal and bright clothing."
The funeral directors are Morley Penrose Funeral Directors, Greenbank Road, Devoran, Truro, TR3 6PQ. Tel: 01872-863596.
Cornwall and Devon Media can assist anyone travelling some distance to the funeral with a list of potential accommodation providers. Please contact Sandy MacGregor on 01872-247388 or e-mail: email@example.com if you need assistance with this. CDM will be arranging free return transport to the funeral for Devon-based friends and colleagues of Mary-Ann’s. A bus will pick up at Barnstaple and another will pick up at Tiverton and Honiton.
Should you want a place on either of these buses, please contact Heather Saunders on 01271-347445 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than 11am on Monday, May 8th.