Mail journalist Jean mourned

Former Mail journalist Jean Jaques who has died aged 84.
Former Mail journalist Jean Jaques who has died aged 84.

A campaigning journalist who wrote for newspapers in the North East and was a champion of Hartlepool communities has died aged 84.

Jean Jacques, who was always upbeat and bubbly, is best remembered for being woman’s page editor for the Northern Daily Mail, forerunner of the Hartlepool Mail.

She was a household name in town, writing first under the pseudonym Winifred West and later under her married name above the column ‘Jean Jacques writes…’.

Among the many local issues she reported on in the 1960s and 1970s, her newspaper campaign for Hartlepool to set up its own open air market, so shoppers did not have to go out of town, led to change.

Jean, nee Roberton, first campaigned in 1978 to change the opening hours of the indoor market. Stalls used to close in the lunch hour and all day on Wednesdays.

It led to the indoor market and other shops adopting a six-day week. Hartlepool council eventually agreed to allow a Thursday open air market, which still continues.

After joining the Mail’s advertisement department, Jean was determined to get a job as a journalist.

After working as a reporter in Keighley, Yorkshire, Jean returned to Hartlepool to take charge of the Mail’s woman’s page and other reporting duties.

Jean died peacefully with husband Richard, former chief sub editor of the Hartlepool Mail, and daughters Janette and Judith at her bedside in Elwick Grange residential care home.

Family, friends and former colleagues attended her funeral, which took place on Thursday, August 4, at St Joseph’s Church, Hartlepool.