A FORMER regional journalist, better known by her family as a 'super granny', has died aged 84.

Allene Margaret Norris, of Darlington, worked at several regional titles including The Northern Echo, Evening Gazette and Teesdale Mercury, as well as a reporter for BBC Radio Cleveland.

She died on Thursday, May 7.

Her son, Richard James, said his mother had a remarkable career for a woman and said he saw her as a "real go-getter" – but said she would like to be remembered as Granny.

He said: "My wife Lynda died when my triplet daughters and their older sister were very young, and mum was absolutely wonderful with them.

"I was a father and widow trying to run a house and business, so it was really great to have her – she was a great person to be around and my girls were all very close to her."

As well as Mr James' daughters – Rachael, plus triplets Katherine, Nichola and Sarah – Mrs Norris was also mother to Kerry, and grandmother to Harriet and George.

She recently became a great-grandmother to Harry. Mrs Norris lived in Darlington with her partner John Hopps.

Mr James said: "She was very well-known in the area. She started working at The Northern Echo as a copy writer aged around 16, and went on to become editor of the Teesdale Mercury, women’s editor of Teesside’s Evening Gazette and spent 23 years with the BBC in the North East.

"She used to produce a supplement called the 'Beat' for teenagers and would interview musicians like Jimi Hendrix and went to cover Top of The Pops to interview the stars of the day.

"She loved art, fly fishing and writing, but she was most proud of being a granny, and was always in contact with her grandchildren."

Mrs Norris also wrote books , including Distant Echos, which tells of her time as an office junior at The Northern Echo, before she went on to work as a journalist at other regional titles and the BBC. The book captured the atmosphere and characters of the newsroom in the 1950s.

She also had success with local books The Market, based on Darlington's covered market, and The Street, with the latter raising cash for her favourite charity, Leukaemia Research. Her book Grannies Like Us, a collections of heartwarming memories dedicated to grandparents, became a local bestseller.

A full memorial service for Mrs Norris will be held after the pandemic has ended.