‘Shining star’ Louise loses cancer battle at just 24

Farmers Guardian journalist Louise Hartley. Credit Farmers Guardian

Farmers Guardian journalist Louise Hartley. Credit Farmers Guardian

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Friends and family of a young journalist who died from a rare form of cancer have paid tribute to a “shining star”.

Louise Hartley was a reporter for the Farmers Guardian, based in Fulwood, Preston, and was described by colleagues as “incredibly talented” and “boundlessly creative”.

The 24-year-old had been diagnosed with a treatable germ-cell tumour in February this year, but it was later discovered she had a rare form of ovarian cancer.

Her sister Bridget described Louise, from Bashall Eaves, Clitheroe, as a “great communicator”. She said: “Louise had the ability to make people feel special and was comfortable talking to anyone at any age.

“She was passionate about sharing information – her gift for writing went hand in hand with her love of agriculture and they were a perfect fit for her job.”

Louise was well-known across farming, and Bridget said: “She was such a farm girl and loved doing all the jobs that went with it – one minute she would be in overalls and covered in muck and the next she would be glamorous and ready to go out.”

Her mum Sarah added: “She was so good with people – we have been so touched by people’s genuine warmth and the outpouring of grief. It’s lovely for us as a family to know how much people thought of her.

“She simply brightened up our lives.

“We have had quality not quantity of time with her and I just can’t believe she’s gone.”

Louise, who had been a keen member of Clitheroe Young Farmers, was initially diagnosed with a germ-cell tumour in February, and was told the prognosis was good.

But, in March, following more tests, her family was given the devastating news that her tumour was the extremely rare Small Cell Cancer of the Ovary Hypercalcaemic Type.

Friends, family and colleagues joined in with fundraising activities to try to raise cash for treatment, including a sponsored “On the Moove” walk led by Lancashire Young Farmers, which saw them walk from Clitheroe to Blackpool Tower.

She died at The Christie Hospital on Friday last week.

Farmers Guardian editor Ben Briggs paid tribute to a “shining star of the editorial team”.

He said: “From the very first moment Louise joined FG, her talent for journalism, natural inquisitiveness and brilliant writing style really made her stand out.

“She also had a wonderful personality which meant she could coax the most in-depth information from interviewees, which is crucial in this job. She was a credit to FG, to herself and to her family.

“To say we are devastated by her death would be an understatement and our thoughts and best wishes go to her family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.”

Head of livestock at Farmers Guardian, Katie Jones, added: “Louise was an incredibly talented member of the livestock team.

“She had an infectious enthusiasm for the industry and was boundlessly creative.

“Her genuine, bubbly personality meant she would put everyone she met immediately at ease.

“Her love for the farming industry, in particular the dairy sector, was no more evident than at agricultural shows where she would love nothing more than speaking to the exhibitors in the stock lines, and watching the action around the rings.”

Emma Penny, Farmers Guardian’s group head of content, said the young reporter was an “invaluable” member of the editorial team.

She said: “Louise started working for FG during her university holidays, and quickly proved to be an invaluable member of the team, winning the Guild of Agricultural Journalists’ John Deere Award.

“We were delighted when she joined the team as a reporter when she finished her degree in agriculture at Newcastle University.

“She was an imaginative writer, producing really thought-provoking articles, and ensuring she gave readers the best possible information.

“We will all miss her terribly.”

A celebration of life service will be held on Thursday, July 21, at 6.30pm at Clitheroe Parish Church, and afterwards at Stirk House.

All are welcome to attend and the family requests that nobody wears black.