Great at bringing characters to life
I WOULD like to add my memories of Jo Francis (Tributes to a much loved village voice, Gazette, October 28).
When I joined the Gazette in 1999 as a sub-editor, Jo’s Village Voice column was a highlight of the production week and a real pleasure to read.
You could ‘lose yourself ’ in Jo’s masterful storytelling without ever getting lost – she had a knack of tying up all the threads at the end.
Later, when I occupied the desk next to hers, she would regale me with tales of growing up in Cornwall, and of Uxbridge ‘back in the day’.
I recall plenty of laughter: Jo was capable of red-faced apoplexy for minutes on end if something really tickled her, although not my jokes – more likely one of the amazing characters she had just met on a foray from the office and who would shortly appear in ‘VV’ or a feature she was writing.
Such was the stock in trade of a good local journalist, and Jo was good – great – at bringing those characters to life in her stories.
After she retired, I’d often make the hike up the canal towpath to Denham for dinner with her and Norman, and it was they who first persuaded me to explore Cornwall.
That first trip, including a visit to their home in Boscastle, kindled a love of the county in me that continues to this day.
Jo was the consummate local newspaper reporter: approachable, sceptical, diligent and knowledgeable. Beyond that, she was a mate. She will be much missed.