Obituary: Sandra Watson, 74, former journalist

Sandra Watson, pictured (third left)  in 1995 with her Press colleagues.
Sandra Watson, pictured (third left) in 1995 with her Press colleagues.

Tributes have been paid this week to Sandra Watson, one of the most respected journalists to work on the Fife Free Press.

Sandra passed away on November 9, at the age of 74.

A front page story by Helen Wright - real name Sandra Watson -  from June 1992, breaking the Karen Carrick story which went national

A front page story by Helen Wright - real name Sandra Watson - from June 1992, breaking the Karen Carrick story which went national

She wrote under the byline of ‘Helen Wright’ and gave over 30 years service to this newspaper.

Born in Kirkcaldy in 1943, she went to Kirkcaldy High School, where she was an exceptionally bright student.

As a journalist she made a huge impact on the Fife Free Press after joining in the 1970s, covering all the major stories of the time, some of which went on to become national headlines.

She was an incredibly prolific writer, and was ‘‘the backbone” of the news team over several decades. She was in regular contact with political heavyweights of the time, like former Kirkcaldy MPs Lewis Mooney and Harry Gourlay, reporting on the issues raised in Westminster.

A story from July 1991

A story from July 1991

She also covered numerous Fife Regional Council meetings, and led the coverage of the events that led to the downfall of Kirkcaldy District Council leader, Karen Carrick.

Sandra also covered a huge range of stories and features as she filled pages with her word-perfect copy.

Jerzy Morkis, editor of the Fife Free Press, 1993-2000 paid tribute to a highly valued colleague.

He said: “Sandra was the backbone of the news gathering team during her time at the Fife Free Press, but her experience, knowledge and ability was something reporters across Fife, and much further afield, looked up to – she had the respect of all her peers and the trust of the community.

January 1992

January 1992

“She wasn’t interested in moving into a management role as her first love was always writing, and that was to all our benefit.

“Sandra gave the paper authority and gravitas, and filed some of the best copy it has published; she was also a remarkable character and a pleasure to work with and to know.”

Sandra brought the curtain down on a career in local journalism in 1995.

Her plans for retirement changed after the death of her husband Robin, a well-known bookmaker, shortly after.

March 1994

March 1994

A huge reader, she devoured books, and enjoyed a quiet retirement with the occasional holiday.

Sandra was remembered with a service at Kirkcaldy Crematorium on Tuesday morning.