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
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