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Journalists, friends and family have been paying tribute to former Kent editor Carol Davies who has died after a battle with cancer. She was 73.
Carol had worked as series editor of the free Canterbury Adscene and its sister paid-for papers the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Times before joining the Kent Messenger Group in 2002 to edit the Thanet Extra free-sheet.
As well as being a well-respected and much-loved journalist she had a passion for music and was an enthusiastic supporter of the Broadstairs Folk Festival.
In May 2021, during the Covid-19 lockdown, she finally married long-time partner and fellow journalist Matt Silk after what he described as a “very successful 25-year trial period”.
Ian Carter, editorial director of Iliffe Media Group which now owns the KM Group, was one of the first to pay tribute.
He said: “Carol was a great, passionate editor with a real love of life.
“Alongside her thirst for news and a passion for the communities she served, she was a huge music enthusiast. A quick chat about that week’s Thanet Extra would often turn into a 45-minute discussion about the bands she had discovered and the gigs she was going to.”
He added: “Carol was very close to her mother and devastated when she died. It’s incredibly sad she has now left us far too soon. The thoughts of all those who knew her at the KM are with her friends and family.”
Harry Lambert, former owner of Adscene, said: “I am so very sad to hear that Carol has departed this earth. I have some lovely memories of an always smiling Carol who was eager to take on any task. May she enjoy peace and freedom from pain and worry.”
Carol died on Monday at the Pilgrims Hospice in Canterbury.
Her husband Matt said: “I’m heartbroken to tell you my beautiful wife, soulmate, partner-in-crime and best friend Carol left us tonight at 9.50pm. I and her brother Lee were with her when she passed peacefully.
“There’s some comfort in the fact her empathy, kindness, love, fun and mischief will stay with so many friends and family. She’ll never really leave so many of us – but the world makes even less sense without our Cazzles in it.”
Former colleague Graham Smith said: “Carol was one of the most caring, compassionate and lovely people I was lucky enough to meet and one of the best journalists I was lucky enough to work with.
“We went back very nearly 38 years to when she was a reporter and I was a sub-editor on Adscene. We shared similar views on so many things including local newspapers, politics and Adscene and KM management!
“Carol was a complete one-off. The world is a poorer place for her passing.”
Journalist Rachael Woods said: “Carol was a beautiful person, fun, feisty and fearless. Her light will shine on.”
Carol, from Herne Bay, went into the Pilgrims Hospice on July 27 after learning that six months of chemotherapy had failed to beat her cancer.
In her inimitable style she broke the news to her friends on Facebook with the post: “To say I was disappointed to be told this is an understatement.”
Former photographer Jim Byrne recalled: “Carol was amazing with people and enchanted everybody she was interviewing. My worst nightmare was turning up at somebody’s door without her because she was too close to deadline. At that point, a grumpy face would peer out, push past me, look angrily up and down the road and demand ‘Where’s the girl?’
“Carol faced cancer with her usual courage and common sense. She was a warrior. She knew that her prognosis wasn’t good but what she really wanted was just ‘a little more time’. She readily submitted to surgery and to gruelling and debilitating chemo sessions and put herself forward for a clinical trial. In the end, the cancer was just too implacable.
“With Carol gone, the world seems a tad darker and less inviting. She was a remarkable person, a consummate story teller and filled with wisdom gained from life’s ups and downs.”
Former colleague Nigel Munson added: “Her smile that could illuminate the darkest room and her eyes simply bewitched us poor chaps. She was very self-effacing but loved to participate in the faintly anarchic atmosphere that existed in the newsroom.
“Her quiet sense of humour and gentle personality marked her out as someone whose company we all embraced fervently. She was just so damned lovely. She was my dear friend, a journalist of genuine style and quality whose feature writings underlined her love of the English language. The Celestial Gazette has a new star columnist!”
Her friend Karina Barker said: “We first met when Carol arrived to be editor of the Thanet Extra. But on her first day she had no staff because someone had taken away all the computers to be upgraded and shipped the staff out to various places around Kent – something we always said we would put in the book we never got to write.
“When we met on the second day, she offered me a drink, tea, coffee or some miniature bottles of Baileys her mum had sent in for a staff treat.
“Carol was always determined to make sure everyone around her was well fed. Outside work, she persuaded us once to go to see her husband Matt Silk’s band, which led to us doing the same over and over and over again. We had some amazing nights out and made memories that will last a lifetime.”
Carol had strong links with Thanet and her late mother lived in Broadstairs.
Carol once recalled: “While I was still at school I worked on Saturdays at the Newbury Hotel in Norfolk Road, Cliftonville, which was owned by my late uncle and aunt, Reg and Joyce Holloway. I used to take a school friend with me and after our shift, we’d spend our wages in Dreamland.”
She made it clear she didn’t want a funeral.
Her husband Matt said: “We will get together to celebrate her when the time is right so no flowers or cards. But it would be entirely right for donations to be made to Pilgrims Hospice, Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK and the Hedgehog Preservation Society. She loved her hogs.”
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