A trib­ute fol­low­ing the death of The Wharf’s former ed­i­tor

Former ed­i­tor of The Wharf Daniel Bourke pays trib­ute to his col­league and suc­ces­sor, Ann Sten­house, who has died at the age of 41

The Wharf - - Wharf -

Ann Sten­house, who has died aged 41, was the fourth ed­i­tor of The Wharf news­pa­per and a mother, part­ner, friend and na­tional news­pa­per jour­nal­ist of de­servedly high re­pute.

She grew up in Hornsey, north Lon­don and stud­ied at Ex­eter Univer­sity be­fore land­ing her first job in jour­nal­ism at a busi­ness-to-busi­ness pe­ri­od­i­cal pub­lisher in the City.

The mag­a­zines were badly run in an amus­ing way and the young work­force main­tained a fine sense of fun, es­pe­cially af­ter lunch at The Gun pub­lic house, sit­u­ated in the same build­ing.

It was here that she caught the eye of the third ed­i­tor of The Wharf, the writer of this piece.

I had re­cently been mis­tak­enly pro­moted to the role and was des­per­ate to find a deputy who could make up for my many short­com­ings. In Ann – se­ri­ous, proper, funny, grown-up – I knew I had found my woman.

She ex­celled as my deputy, and when my time on the pa­per came to an end she stepped into my shoes and very soon took a load of the grown-up de­ci­sions I had avoided through­out my ten­ure.

Lib­er­ated from the desk-bound role of the deputy, Ann launched her­self on the Wharf’s so­cial scene, mak­ing con­tacts and friends across the busi­nesses, char­i­ties, pub­lic bod­ies and pub­lic houses of the es­tate and be­yond.

The role re­ally al­lowed her per­son­al­ity to come out and to flour­ish. She was down-to-earth, funny to the point of harsh­ness and ex­tremely fond of a rant, but none of her cyn­i­cism or sar­casm could dis­guise a gen­uine kind­ness and an enor­mous heart.

Those who worked un­der her were blessed with a car­ing, thought­ful and de­ci­sive boss. Un­for­giv­ing of some fail­ings (bluff­ing) but in­dul­gent of many more (par­tic­u­larly hang­overs), she cham­pi­oned peo­ple and fought their cor­ner with the bosses.

She was her­self a very so­cial an­i­mal and fond of a post­dead­line af­ter­noon con­tem­plat­ing life’s big­ger ques­tions and smaller ir­ri­tants over buck­ets of Pinot Gri­gio at Davy’s.

She left The Wharf but not the area, mov­ing just across the floor at Mir­ror Group News­pa­pers to the

Sun­day Mir­ror, where she took on a se­nior pro­duc­tion role and found even more op­por­tu­ni­ties for long lunches.

That pa­per was maybe the last bas­tion of the old Fleet Street, where one would come in around 10(ish), pre­tend to do some work for an hour or so be­fore re­tir­ing to Ni­co­las for a few so­cia­ble drinks. This would be fol­lowed by a sand­wich some­where then it was back to the office for a bit of light jour­nal­ism be­fore go­ing back to the pub for one be­fore home.

In the com­pany of leg­endary aged booz­ers and spin­ners of well-worn Fleet Street yarns, Ann more than held her own, nei­ther over­awed nor mock­ing, she fit­ted in ex­actly and was wel­comed as a kin­dred spirit.

She later moved on to var­i­ous roles on the Daily Mir­ror back bench – the high-pres­sure cen­tre of the pro­duc­tion of that or­gan.

This was a less bibu­lous place and brought out the other side of Ann’s work­ing per­son­al­ity: her abil­ity to graft her be­hind off.

To work at the in­ten­sity she did and to never, as they say, f*** it up, is one thing, but to do so and never lose your sense of per­spec­tive or your sense of hu­mour is quite an­other. Ann did all these things and more.

She was highly in de­mand and of­ten sec­onded to other de­part­ments where she trained younger jour­nal­ists, and helped older ones mas­ter new tech­nol­ogy. Her in­ter­ac­tion was marked by pa­tience and kind­ness – things nei­ther group had been ex­pect­ing.

Mov­ing ef­fort­lessly with the times, Ann made the tran­si­tion to the Mir­ror’s web team and made that move look easy.

Her new on­line friends took to her very quickly, even more so when she started driv­ing traf­fic to the site with a niche line of sto­ries of­fer­ing sex ad­vice.

Even these though, were writ­ten with a gen­tle­ness and hu­man­ity one very rarely finds on sto­ries ad­vis­ing what to do about erec­tile dis­func­tion. She also found her­self a new nick­name – An­nu­endo.

Of course, the most im­por­tant things in life hap­pened away from work. Ann and her part­ner So­phie had a baby boy, Louie, nearly three years ago, and Ann brimmed with love for him and for their fam­ily, and for brother David, sis­ter Isla, and her dad and step-mum.

Ann took the pa­ter­nity leave while So­phie took ma­ter­nity leave, and Ann nav­i­gated her role as “Par­ent Num­ber Two” with joy (you can hear her dis­cuss that on a very touch­ing episode of the the Mir­ror’s

First Time Dads pod­cast). When can­cer came she fought it with all the tools in her box: her hu­mour, her courage, her abil­ity to graft and the love she had for oth­ers and the love she was held in. She had taken time off for chemo­ther­apy and had re­turned to work part-time (frus­trated, one sus­pected, at not work­ing her arse off ).

But then pneu­mo­nia came and car­ried her off and it is im­pos­si­ble to be­lieve she is gone.

She was a great cham­pion of this news­pa­per and of the es­tate. She was a de­fender of proper jour­nal­ism and a de­man­der of good times from life. Most of those who knew her loved her, and all of us will miss her ter­ri­bly.

Left, Ann Sten­house, pic­tured in 2002 when deputy ed­i­tor ofThe Wharf, pre­sent­ing a best restau­rant award to Car­luc­cio’s man­ager Steven Kad­dish


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