Long-serving Hemel Hempstead journalist 'legend' Daphne Hughes dies aged 97

She passed away peacefully at her home in Berkhamsted earlier this month
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A long serving Hemel Hempstead journalist has died aged 97.

Daphne Hughes, a former chief reporter at the Hemel Hempstead Gazette, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Berkhamsted on November 3. She is survived by her two sons and two grandchildren.

Friends say, until recent weeks, Daphne had remained active, walking the length of Berkhamsted High Street to do her shopping, and retaining a razor-sharp mind, up to date with the news and discussing the Russian-Ukraine and Hamas- Israeli conflicts.

Daphne Hughes.Daphne Hughes.
Daphne Hughes.

She was reported to say: "I have had an excellent life. I have absolutely no regrets."

Born and educated at Hemel Hempstead Grammar School, Daphne started work at the National Provincial Bank in Tring, before becoming an apprentice journalist at the Gazette, earning just £1.25 a week.

She worked on six newspapers, doing three stretches at the Gazette alongside raising her family.

During her time at the Gazette, Daphne helped to launch many youngsters on their journalistic careers, described as ‘a gentle and encouraging mentor’.

She was a regular attendee at council meetings and was knowledgeable in planning matters, helping to cover the public inquiry into the A41 Bypass among other controversial appeals.

Following her initial retirement, Daphne decided to return part-time, and in latter years concentrated on court reporting until increasing deafness caused her to retire finally in 2008, aged 82.

According to colleagues and friends, the journalism stalwart trained on the job, at a time when pavement pounding, knowing local police officers, firefighters and headmasters and keeping a telephone book handy was everything.

Former colleague and friend Hartley Milner said: “Among her many other qualities, what Daphne had in spades was patience and tolerance, which I’m sure were sorely tested after I joined the Gazette fresh from college in the late ’60s. Yet, she mentored me with a calm guiding hand always, as she did with so many others who went on to have long and fulfilling careers. RIP Legend!”

As well as her talents and dedication to journalism, friends name gardening, dress making and Christmas cake baking among her repertoire.

Daphne’s funeral will take place at Hemel Hempstead Crematorium on Wednesday, November 22.