A journalist and writer who set a best-selling author on the road to stardom has died in Burgess Hill aged 95.
Margaret Parker was born on February 26, 1918 in London and educated at Bromley High School for Girls.
Starting her career with the Amalgamated Press in Fleetway House, Miss Parker rose from the position of office junior to Chief Sub Editor on woman’s title Home Chat.
Her career was interrupted by war work when she was called to serve her country as a senior inspector for the Air Ministry. She also worked in PR for Billy Smart’s Circus and a leading London agency.
Back in Fleet Street, she then spent 19 very happy years at ‘The Lady’ magazine, first as household editor and then editing the cookery section.
Mr Bowles, who owned and ran the magazine from 1959 – 2008, recalled Miss Parker with ‘gratitude and affection’ for her ‘pleasantness and hard work’ on the paper.
After a family move to the West Country, she moved to Sussex and settled in Lindfield from where she commuted to London to work at Woman’s Weekly Libraries in Stamford Street to share an office with a young Minette Walters, who is now a popular author. The pair wrote romantic novels together.
Ms Walters said: “I was deeply fond of Margaret. She was an amazing, vibrant character – quite intimidating when I got things wrong! But she taught me most of what I know about editing and writing.
“I would not have missed knowing and working with her for the worlds.”
Margaret was involved in village life in Lindfield, member of the Preservation Society, the Horticultural Society and active at All Saints’ parish church.
Nephew Trevor Butler, 52, from Lindfield, said: “She was inspirational throughout my life. Always there for me. Aunty had such a deep faith and a very clear way of expressing it; she surrendered very peacefully and willingly to the God she has so faithfully served. I shall miss her very much.”
Margaret Parker died peacefully in a Burgess Hill nursing home on February 10 with her sister at her bedside.
A traditional funeral begins at Walsted Cemetery on March 12 at noon.