Journalist and broadcaster Jane Furnival dies aged 55 - Press Gazette

Journalist and broadcaster Jane Furnival dies aged 55

Journalist and broadcaster Jane Furnival died at home on Monday some four years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Jane, 55, published her last article in Femail Magazine on 15 March headlined: ‘I’m on borrowed time – but I’m loving every moment”.

The article led to a huge response from around the world and to her being interviewed on ITV’s This Morning.

Jane Furnival was born on 25 April 1957 at King’s College Hospital Camberwell. Her father, film writer Robert Furnival, left her mother before she was born and she was brought up in what she described as ‘eccentric semi‐poverty’in ‘a big old dusty house stacked with family ‘treasures'”.

She was cared for by grandmother Rose Belle while mother Betty forged a successful career at the BBC.

After studying at Honor Oak School, a girls’ grammer in South London, she gained a place at Hertford College, Oxford, to study English.

She married a young don, but the marriage broke up after six months because, she later said, ‘I was not cut out to be a supportive and silent don’s wife”.

Her first job was as a copywriter in Cirencester working on Butlins direct mail letters.

After six months she got a job at advertising agency Ogilvy Benson and Mather in London.

It was there she met her future husband Andy Tribble. By the age of 29 she became one of the first female creative directors in London.

She left advertising after having first son William, and later embarked on a second career in journalism.

Explaining how she got her start, she said: ‘I became a freelance journalist by the simple technique of writing something and sending it in by bike to the Evening Standard, where the property editor published it the next day.”

She added: ‘I have been blessed with generous and talented friends who have helped me at crucial times. It was a long and slow struggle to get to the top of freelance journalism, helped by my wonderful mentor Yvonne Thomas who became a friend after arriving one day to interview me for The Times about a mural I had on our dining room wall in Clapham.”

She went on to write for most British national newspapers and some international ones.

She also wrote the Mr Thrifty column for The Oldie which she later turned into a book.

In the 2000s she created a new column for the Telegraph, Happy Shopper, and was invited by the BBC to host a new primetime BBC series called Smart Spenders.

Later she was offered a regular slot on GMTV but she later said she did not enjoy broadcasting, preferring instead: ‘home and my beautiful dog Boo, my garden and the children and friends”.

Writing two years ago she said: ‘I have been blessed with three gorgeous and individual sons, with Tribs, a wonderful magical dog as my faithful and darling companion, and some devoted cats too – Rocky the British Blue, Leo the black and white rescue, Sunny the squirrel‐slayer; with the most brilliant and kind friends, and I have had a lot of experiences most people only dream of – the seaplane in the Caribbean; camping rough by myself in Botswana; recording my own stuff with top artists when I was in advertising; meeting interesting and influential people and having the newspaper-given power to ask anyone the cheekiest questions, to create amazing homes, help people, and to make people laugh as well as writing a lot of commonsense books.

‘I particularly liked the comment of a presenter when I walked into the studio of You and Yours once: ‘Oh good, here’s Jane – now we’ll have a bit of fun.'”

Jane Furnival is survived by her husband Andrew and three sons: William, 25, Charlie, 20, and Henry, 11.

Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette