Tributes paid to a loving friend and legendary News reporter

The late Maggie Beddoes pictured in October, 2007
The late Maggie Beddoes pictured in October, 2007
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SHE was the kind of person who put friendship above all else, and was loved by all that knew her.

Maggie Beddoes, née Penny, a former News journalist, died on June 9 aged 77.

Maggie’s daughter, Elly Basham, 55, said: ‘She always had plenty to say and was a well-loved person. She really valued friendships and always went to great lengths to keep in touch with people.’

Maggie was born in Redruth in Cornwall and moved to Hampshire in her infancy.

Mrs Basham said: ‘Her father was in the army, and after the war an opportunity for a job came up and they moved to Gosport.

‘They bought a houseboat and they lived on it when she was growing up.’

Maggie spent the first few years of her career working in a cancer research lab at London’s Mount Vernon Hospital.

It was when she moved back to the Portsmouth area that she developed a love of writing, working as a freelance writer and joining a Gosport writers’ group.

Maggie married George Beddoes when she was 22, but the couple split up after about five years, having had Elly.

Mrs Basham said Maggie started working for The News around 1975.

Although she had no formal training in the role, she proved to be a natural reporter, as former colleague, Steve Bone, remembers. He said: ‘She was a bit of a legend at The News.

‘I remember going out with her once on a job at 10am, and ended up staying there for six hours because she just kept talking to people and picking up other stories.’

Mrs Basham said the Portchester house where she grew up was often filled with people who remembered her mother’s hospitality.

She said: ‘The house that we lived in had a spare room, and so over the years we had a succession of young journalists from other parts of the country who came to stay when they were starting out at The News. She took a lot of people under her wing.’

After covering the Portsmouth City Council beat for a long time, she spent the last four years of her career based at The News’ Gosport office.

She retired in 1995, but stayed in contact with her old colleagues and friends.

Maggie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2002, and made a recovery after surgery. But the disease eventually came back to claim her life.

She spent her last two years being cared for by her daughter, who lives in Gloucestershire.

Mrs Basham said a memorial service was being planned for her mother in the Portsmouth area.

She did her work with kindness and compassion

MAGGIE Beddoes was a top-flight journalist who was highly valued for her work, according to friend and former News colleague Judy Morhen.

Mrs Morhen, 66,of Park Gate, said Maggie was compassionate and kind, but tireless in her pursuit of truth.

‘She knew her onions. All her stories were clear and concise and accurate. She was very respected in civic circles but also a little bit feared because they couldn’t pull the wool over her eyes. She had a good mind coupled with an enormous sense of humour. I will miss her very much.’