Former Whitby Gazette journalist Sheila dies aged 89

A former journalist with the Whitby Gazette has died at the age of 89.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 9:43 am
Updated Friday, 1st November 2019, 9:44 am
Sheila Whitton.

Sheila Whitton’s byline appeared regularly in the paper for more than 30 years.

Mrs Whitton, nee Gallacher, was born on January 4 1930 and died on October 16 2019.

She was born in the centre of Middlesbrough and attended Beechwood Primary School and Kirby Girls Grammar School before taking up a job as a trainee reporter in Billingham in County Durham.

Sheila with MP Ashok Kumar outside Parliament.

Sheila’s son Nick said: “She married and, like so many women of that era, left work to start a family.

“In 1969 she moved to Castleton and lived in the Esk Valley for almost 50 years.”

Her first role at the Gazette was as village correspondent where she contributed stories from the East Cleveland area.

She was soon offered a part-time contract and was able to return to print journalism, which Nick describes as “her first love”.

Over her career, Sheila worked with many local and national politicians but had a particularly good relationship with late MPs Mo Mowlam and Ashok Kumar.

Carol Zagrovic, who ran a charity called East Cleveland Impasse, a resource centre for unemployed families, described Sheila as a “great ally”.

She added: “She helped us to work with the media and was an endless source of help and support to the charity.”

Sheila retired in 1995 but continued to work as a freelance and was still providing copy, from her office in the back bedroom of her cottage in Danby, into her early 80s.

She saw much change in the industry through her career, from working on a manual typewriter to filing digital copy over the internet.

Sheila will be greatly missed by her three children Jon, Nick and Fran, their partners, her three grandchildren and four great grandchildren.