TRIB­UTE TO LOUISE EL­LIOTT

This is­sue is ded­i­cated to the mem­ory of deputy ed­i­tor Louise El­liott, a val­ued, loved and re­spected mem­ber of the team, who worked on Coun­try Liv­ing for over 20 years and died of can­cer on 4 Septem­ber 2017, aged 57

Country Living (UK) - - Contents - Words by susy smith with con­tri­bu­tions from kitty cor­ri­gan and the coun­try liv­ing team

Re­mem­ber­ing Coun­try Liv­ing’s much-loved and long-stand­ing deputy ed­i­tor

Louise joined Coun­try Liv­ing as deputy chief sub-ed­i­tor in 1996 and soon rose to be­come chief sub-ed­i­tor, then as­so­ci­ate ed­i­tor and, in 2012, deputy ed­i­tor. These roles re­quire a very cer­tain set of skills. One has to be im­mensely or­gan­ised, re­main calm and ex­er­cise true diplo­macy. A sense of hu­mour also helps!

Louise was or­gan­ised and diplo­matic, but it would be wrong to say she was al­ways calm. Un­der pres­sure she had the same de­sire to let off steam as ev­ery­one else. It was at this point that some­thing had to give – and it usu­ally did. Louise’s an­swer? To whis­tle. Or sing. Loudly! The singing of­ten took the form of mu­sic from old movies, of which she had a com­pre­hen­sive knowl­edge. This usu­ally dif­fused any ten­sion. One col­league said: “It’s hard to feel stressed when some­one is whistling the tune to Match of the Day be­side you.”

There was of­ten laugh­ter when Louise was around. If there was an op­por­tu­nity to put on a silly wig or demon­strate a dance step, she would do so, in the mid­dle of the of­fice! She de­lighted in in­nu­endo, could spot a dou­ble en­ten­dre at a hun­dred paces and loved to en­ter­tain an au­di­ence. One of the team said: “Her sto­ries, and the hi­lar­i­ous way she re­lated them, were the stuff of le­gend.”

Louise grew up in the Quaker vil­lage of Jor­dans, Buck­ing­hamshire, where her sis­ter Clare, a doc­tor, and her mother, An­nie (née Shep­pard), a re­tired school­teacher, still live. Her other sis­ter, Jane, lives in Ger­many, and her brother, Ian, in Paris. Her North­ern Ir­ish fa­ther, Wil­liam El­liott, was an ac­coun­tant. She stud­ied English lit­er­a­ture at King’s Col­lege Lon­don and early in her ca­reer worked as a sub-ed­i­tor on Run­ning magazine and Ideal Home. She ran the Lon­don marathon twice, and in her lunch breaks at Coun­try Liv­ing would don her run­ning gear at least once a week for a sprint around Re­gent’s Park.

Louise’s beau­ti­fully lyri­cal writ­ing of­ten ap­peared in the magazine and in­cluded a monthly col­umn, Coun­try in the City. In it she talked about her love of gar­den­ing, cats and dis­cov­er­ing the cor­ners of Lon­don that al­lowed her to feel she was liv­ing a ru­ral life in an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment. It was also her op­por­tu­nity to cham­pion con­tem­po­rary craft and the ur­ban ar­ti­sans who pro­duced it. Dis­cov­er­ing and meet­ing these tal­ented peo­ple was what she loved the most.

With an encyclopaedic knowl­edge of Coun­try Liv­ing, Louise was the go-to per­son when some­one asked, “When did we last do some­thing on stoats?” or “Have we fea­tured any­one mak­ing life-sized cro­cheted an­i­mals?” She would al­ways know the an­swer.

There are many mem­o­ries that il­lus­trate her quirky per­son­al­ity: the fact that when cy­cling down a steep hill, she would stop her­self get­ting scared by re­peat­ing the name of a for­eign foot­ball player over and over; her fear of kedgeree (be­cause it com­bines smoked fish and egg) and her even greater fear of be­ing of­fered kedgeree for lunch dur­ing an in­ter­view for a fea­ture – which ac­tu­ally hap­pened; her love of travel and her tales on re­turn­ing from a visit to France with her mother or an Ital­ian hol­i­day with her Is­trian hus­band Branco Isic (known as Žduc), whom she mar­ried in 1994; her close­ness to her fam­ily – ev­ery­one knew that her Fri­day lunches with her mother An­nie in Lib­erty were sacro­sanct.

Sue Gilkes, Louise’s deputy chief sub-ed­i­tor on Coun­try Liv­ing for many years, says, “Louise was amaz­ing to work for – a beau­ti­ful writer and bril­liant ed­i­tor, she was hugely in­spir­ing and in­stilled in me the im­por­tance of striv­ing al­ways to pro­duce your very best work.”

Louise at­tracted ad­mi­ra­tion from all her col­leagues at Coun­try Liv­ing – for her in­tegrity, ded­i­ca­tion, kind­ness and em­pa­thy, and her train­ing and men­tor­ship of new­com­ers. She is sur­vived by Žduc, her step­son, Matija, her mother and her sib­lings. She will be much missed by us all.

“A beau­ti­ful writer and bril­liant ed­i­tor, she was hugely in­spir­ing”

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