'Wonderful' University of Central Lancashire lecturer and former BBC journalist dies of Covid-19 at age 52 following successful kidney transplant

A Lancashire university lecturer enjoying a new lease of life following a successful kidney transplant died weeks after contracting Covid-19.

Friday, 22nd April 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 3:31 pm

Fiona Steggles, 52, was a BBC radio and television journalist before going to work at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston 10 years ago.

She was also a board member for the Youth Hostel Association, former Scout leader and was training to be a Blue Badge Guide in Cumbria where she lived with her husband and two sons, Jack and Joe.

Her husband Mark Elliott said: “Fiona was quite simply the most wonderful human being in the world, who had such a positive impact on all those she came into contact with, who loved to laugh and had an amazing smile.

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UcLan lecturer and journalist Fiona Steggles died age 52

“She had boundless passion and energy which infected us all and, despite the multitude of health problems she suffered over the last twenty years, she always managed to find

a way to not only get through, but to squeeze every last drop out of life and live it to the full.”

Mark, who is the managing editor of Radio Lancashire and Radio Cumbria, donated his kidney to an organ bank so his wife could receive one from an anonymous donor last

summer.

UcLan lecturer and journalist Fiona Steggles died age 52. Pictured with husband Mark

He said Fiona refused to allow her health issues to get in the way of life, even writing a play about the first experiences as a patient in an Intensive Care Unit which she then

turned into a musical.

Another hobby was swimming in the Lakes, and when she couldn’t do that for medical reasons, she took up kayaking.

Mark said: “The boys quite simply could not have had a better mum, which is why they’ve grown into the amazing young men they are today.”

UcLan lecturer and journalist Fiona Steggles died age 52

Fiona held various roles at the BBC, in latter years working as producer for North West Tonight at Media City.

Editor Michelle Mayman said she was loved and respected by the team. Michelle said: “She felt a duty to help the next generation which is why moving to UCLan

was a natural progression for her, passing on her creativity and skills.”

Journalist Ranvir Singh, who worked with Fiona at the BBC and is now Chancellor at UCLan, remembered her sense of fun, often winding up the presenters including Gordon

Burns.

Ranvir said: “She’d say to Gordon something like “I’m writing a golf story here – and I’ve forgotten what they call that thing you balance the ball on – ah yes, a tee.”

“It was silly and always did the trick, and we’d all get rounds of teas and Freddos courtesy of Gordon, and thanks to Fiona.”

At UCLan, Fiona taught broadcast journalism and colleagues said there were former students in newsrooms around the North West and beyond who were grateful to her.

Tutor Caroline Hawtin said she was generous and supportive, and there wasn’t a single member of the team who didn’t have a story to tell about how she’s helped them.

Caroline said: “Peels of raucous laughter sounding along the corridor was a clear sign we were in the office together, hatching some plan to teach and inspire students.

Mark said: “We’d like to thank the family and all of her many, many friends for their support during this incredibly difficult time. We know we aren’t the only ones with broken

hearts.”

Details of Fiona’s funeral have not yet been announced.

(This obituary was written and supplied by Fiona’s colleagues at University of Central Lancashire, with thanks to the Elliott family)

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