Helen Greenaway: Tributes paid to ‘distinguished’ former News Letter journalist

Helen Greenaway
Helen Greenaway

Warm tributes have been paid to a former senior News Letter journalist Helen Greenaway who died on Tuesday after a lengthy illness, aged 73.

Helen (nee Russell) grew up in Bangor and her early career in journalism was with the Bangor Spectator and East Antrim Times. She moved to the Belfast Telegraph and a high moment for her as a reporter there was an interview with the Beatles in Belfast in the mid-1960s,

Helen Greenaway with her daughters Heather, left, and Emma

Helen Greenaway with her daughters Heather, left, and Emma

She joined the News Letter in 1990, then edited by Geoff Martin, and rose from chief sub-editor to night editor, and for several years was assistant editor, working alongside the late Austin Hunter.

News Letter editor Alistair Bushe said of Helen: “I was fortunate to work under Helen as a young reporter at this newspaper when she was coming towards the end of her distinguished career at the paper. I remember her as straight-talking, with a great sense of humour. She was a very confident and assured journalist; nothing fazed her when it came to big breaking news stories or meeting deadlines.”

Former News Letter editor Rankin Armstrong said: “Helen Greenaway was a pleasure to work with; she was an old-school journalist and a real professional. She had the skills to get to the heart of a story quickly, checking for accuracy, getting the best headline possible, and always mindful of the clock winding down to deadline.

“When news was breaking late at night in the News Letter, and there was a need to make changes quickly, there was no better person to work alongside. Helen loved working as part of a team, she had a great sense of humour and the newsroom was never a dull place when she was around.”

Billy Kennedy described Helen as “one of the best journalists I worked with in my 50 years in journalism”.

“Helen joined the News Letter after a lengthy career on the weeklies and at the Telegraph. As a sub-editor and assistant editor, she led by example. She was a superb taster of news and always adopted a high level of professionalism in editorial decision-making. She had an excellent working relationship with colleagues,”

Helen is survived by two daughters, Heather, a journalist with the Sunday Mail in Glasgow, and Emma, and four grandchildren.

The funeral service takes place in Lambeg Parish Church on Friday at 12.30pm.