Tributes to wife of last private owner of Whitby Gazette

THE wife of the last private owner of the Whitby Gazette has died aged 81.

Nancy Horne was married to Lionel Horne whose family owned the Gazette from the very first edition on 6 July 1854 to 30 March 1978.

Mrs Horne (nee Middleton) was born on 27 February 1925 in Leicester House near to Whitby library. Her father Harry was well known in the town having a butcher's shop in Baxtergate.

She attended Miss Preston's school before going, at the age of 13, to Ackworth School near Pontefract in West Yorkshire. She went on to study institutional management at a college in Manchester before moving to Keswick during the Second World War.

In the late 1940s she married Gordon Shaw and moved to Lincolnshire but was widowed soon after and returned to Whitby.

There she met Lionel Horne who was already working at the Whitby Gazette and they married at St Mary's Church in 1953.

Mrs Horne never worked and the couple had a house - Pinkfield - built in the grounds of Mr Horne's mother, Marie, in Prospect Hill.

They had two children, Deborah and Sarah.

Her daughters said their mother was a member of the Inner Wheel, Fylingdales Women's Institute and the Rotarians and did a lot of charity work including working at the former baby clinic in Grape Lane, Whitby.

In later years she became interested in painting water-colours and was also a keen gardener.

Deborah and Sarah said: "She was just always there for us and even all our friends were very fond of her. She was the sort of mother that other people loved as well."

Mrs Horne's husband Lionel was the last in a long line of newspaper men. The line started with Ralph Horne in 1854 who first published the Whitby Gazette. He brought two of his sons into the business but outlived them both, dying in 1892. By then the paper was in the hands of his grandsons FW (known as Mr Fred) and HS (Mr Harry) Horne. Mr Fred had a son William Mackenzie who was managing director of the paper between the two world wars but he predeceased his father. Mr Fred's grandson Lionel took over in 1949 until it passed out of the family in 1978.

Whitby Gazette editor Damian Holmes paid his own tribute to Mrs Horne. He said: "It was wonderful to see her at the Whitby Gazette's 150th anniversary celebrations in 2004.

"Her family gave the town the Whitby Gazette and we strive to continue in the traditions they established.

"I'd like to extend my sympathy and best wishes, and those of all connected with the Gazette, to her family and friends."

Mrs Horne died in Whitby Hospital's Heather Unit last Friday.

Her funeral service will be held at St Mary's Church, Whitby, at 12.45pm on Monday followed by cremation in Scarborough.