Western Morning News columnist Lynne Curry, who has died from cancer aged 48, was an outstanding writer and passionate environmentalist.
She began writing for the WMNin 1995, after settling in Somerset with her husband Martin Whitfield, a fellow journalist.
Brought up in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, Lynne took up a journalism career at the Nottingham Evening Post via the Newark Advertiser.
WMN editor Barrie Williams paid tribute to the gifted writer he first employed in Nottingham, and who later become a much-loved weekly contributor to the WMN.
“Lynne Curry first came to work for me as a young reporter on the Nottingham Evening Post in the early 1980s,” he said. “It soon became evident that she had a special writing talent, and in no time she was tackling top writing and feature assignments and developing a unique style and a strong rapport with readers. Her writing was exceptional, but even so she would still tackle everyday jobs like courts and council committees without a word of complaint or disdain.
She was a superb professional.
“After she married Martin and left Nottingham, I lost contact with her until I arrived at the Western Morning News in 1995. The first welcome letter on my desk was from Lynne, who had settled in Somerset. She gave me a typically amusing list of dos and don’ts, with which to tackle life in the Westcountry. Immediately I offered her a WMNcolumn, she accepted and until her recent illness, she had written that column every week.
“Her work was always a joy; always very readable and provocative, forthright, funny, occasionally waspish but never malicious or unfair. She was quite simply one of the best journalists ever to grace the regional newspaper industry and her untimely death is just tragic.”
A keen walker and cyclist, Lynne often wrote of her environmental concerns and spoke forthrightly on pollution and what she called “the tyranny of the car”. She and Martin had not run a car for ten years.
Lynne and Martin were just two weeks away from celebrating their thirteenth wedding anniversary.
They started life together in romantic style, while he was cycling around the coast at Scarborough and they met at a B&B. “We met and married within two months,” he said.
The couple set up home in London, where Martin was working for the Independent, and Lynne was offered a job on The Evening Standard. But she never really took to the city and after about a year they opted to move to the Westcountry. Later they settled in Frome in a converted water mill, where they connected ancient mill workings to modern technology to produce their own electricity – and supply some to the National Grid.
The “Good Life”-style garden produces flowers and vegetables, and the couple set up a cottage industry, producing maps for cyclists.
“We have cycled all over the country to produce the maps. On our tenth anniversary, we cycled back to Scarborough on a tandem,” said Martin.
Lynne also wrote opinion and feature pieces for the WMN, on one occasion riding her bike from Cornwall to Bristol on the Westcountry Way and colourfully reporting on her experiences.
Lynne’s style and wit will be very much missed by the many readers who found her determined approach and keen observation of life both informative and entertaining.
As her husband says, “she was classy with a pen.”
Lynne St Claire