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Tributes paid to former Palmers Green and Southgate Gazette deputy editor and NUJ branch treasurer Renee Oldfield
A friend and former colleague have paid tribute to a “proper old-school journalist” who died on Friday, aged 87.
Renee Oldfield acted as deputy editor of the now defunct Palmers Green and Southgate Gazette for many years in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Yorkshire-born writer was also a former treasurer at the London North branch of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), of which she was a member for much of her career.
Charlie Harris, now president of the Chartered Institute of Journalists and former editor of the Harrow Times, was interviewed by Mrs Oldfield for his first job at the Gazette in 1973.
He said: “She really was one of the old-school and without her I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“She was a believer in local papers carrying the parish pump style of news. She was a stickler for accuracy and a lovely lady to work with.
“Although she had lived in London for many years, she retained her Yorkshire accent and you’d often be on the receiving end of it if you made a mistake.”
The mother-of-two began her career in Mexborough, south Yorkshire, where she worked as an “on-the-beat” journalist for a local newspaper.
It was here she developed a strong belief in the traditional values of journalism - getting out and chasing a story.
These values defined much of her later career as a deputy editor and sub-editor and Mr Harris remembers how she would kick him out of the office if he was there for more than half an hour.
She moved to London in the 1960s, where she became heavily involved in the NUJ.
Mike Pearce, a former editor of the Wood Green and Tottenham Journal, knew Mrs Oldfield through the union’s London North branch, where they met in the 1960s.
He said: “She was a first class journalist of the old-school – and that is a real compliment. She was very set on accuracy and fairness in her reporting and it is so sad to hear she has gone to that great newsroom in the sky.”
Mrs Oldfield became somewhat of a local celebrity in Palmers Green in the years after she took a job at the Gazette.
Mr Harris said: “She was very well-known because, back in those days, the deputy editors and editors were big public figures. She would be invited to do talks and visit schools.
“There will be a lot of people who remember her from those days and I’m sorry we have lost one of the old crowd.”
The popular writer's funeral will be held on May 1 at New Southgate Crematorium, in Brunswick Park Road, at 3.45pm.
The family has requested donations in her name for good causes, which are yet to be announced.
For more information, contact Charlie Harris on email@example.com
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