Former South Yorkshire journalist dies

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A former South Yorkshire Times journalist who worked for many years covering news across the Dearne has died.

The funeral takes place on February 10 of Mavis Holdsworth Mercer (nee Dean) who sadly died at the age of 87 on January 14 at the Dale Care Home, Conisbrough.

Born in Halifax, the daughter of Phillis and Norman Dean, Mavis had one brother, Christopher, who later emigrated to South Africa with wife Jill and sons Peter, Paul and Andrew.

Mavis met her husband, Sidney Walter Mercer, while serving in the Land Army. He was teacher training in Brighton.

She worked for several years at the South Yorkshire Times as a court reporter and was known to many colleagues as ‘Mave the Rave’. Her daughter Caroline said: “She was not averse to throwing a party, inviting in a houseful of journos, friends and neighbours, and on these occasions could be seen with a “rollie” (a hand rolled cigarette) in one hand, and a gin and tonic in the other!”

She continued: “Mum had a flair for fashion, always looked stylish, and enjoyed picking up designer bargains. In later years she struck up a relationship with friend Jamil, a quiet and very intelligent man, who did ask her to marry him, but she preferred not to.

“When at home, Mavis was partial to playing the piano in the evening. Unfortunately at times, these sessions would begin when the rest of us were parked in front of our ‘state of the art’ black and white TV, and on occasions would put a dent in our viewing pleasure, despite her using the piano’s soft pedal, sparking protests which tended to be disregarded!”

Former colleague at the SYT offices, Lynne Fletcher, paid tribute to Mavis. She said: “Highly intelligent, skilled and with an acerbic wit, Mavis could always spot a good story and was an excellent story teller. She covered many important events during her time at the SYT and her accurate shorthand skills were brought to the fore during coverage of murder trials including the notorious Arkright murder trial.

“Those of us who worked with Mavis will remember her good humour, sense of fun and the many amusing mishaps she had with cars, such as the cheap second-hand one she believed had belonged to a police Chief Constable according to its previous owner details. We had to point out that the little hole in the roof of the car meant it had been a police panda vehicle.”

Mavis leaves five children, John, Joanna, Sally, Caroline and Michael, and nine grandchildren.

The funeral takes place at 1.20pm on February 10 at Rose Hill Crematorium, Doncaster. Flowers and cards should be addressed to Co-op Funeral Care, 89–90 Spring Gardens, Doncaster DN1 3DJ