12:00PM, Monday 29 May 2017
Former Advertiser news editor Julie Barnes has died in Vienna where she lived and worked as a radio broadcaster. She was 54.
According to her father, Geoffrey, who lives in Burnham, Julie was due to fly to Turkey on Monday, May 22, for a holiday.
When he did not hear from her he became worried and found she had not checked into her hotel or caught her flight.
He contacted friends in Vienna who raised the alarm and when police went to her flat they found she had died in bed.
Julie grew up in Burnham and joined the Advertiser as a trainee reporter, working under then
editor Don Seal.
After qualifying as a senior reporter she moved into PR but missed the bustle of local papers and returned to the Advertiser as chief reporter and later became news editor.
As well as running the newsdesk she wrote extensively on planning issues affecting the town.
She also had an interest in alternative medicine and wrote a regular column on the subject.
She left the Advertiser in 1994 to move to Vienna and work on English language station Blue Danube Radio. The station later became FM4 and Julie was its news editor and a broadcaster.
“She was loved by everybody at the station and they are all distraught,” said her father.
“She was extremely happy there. She was the light of my life.”
Current Advertiser editor Martin Trepte, who trained under Julie and replaced her as news editor, said: “Her former colleagues at the Advertiser are devastated by the news of Julie’s death. She was a lovely person, great fun to work with and absolutely committed to local journalism.
“Everyone she encountered warmed to her instantly. She was an expert on local planning issues and when she left, her contacts at the council planning office even gave her a signed copy of the local plan.”
Former colleague Sean O’Meara added: “Julie Barnes was the kind of journalist we all wanted to be – she knew about everything, she knew everyone and she knew how to write a story about anything.
“Thanks to her knowledge, experience and unlimited patience I eventually found myself believing I could be a decent reporter too. I’ll always be grateful to her for that.”
Julie is survived by her father Geoffrey, mother Eileen and brother Michael.
Her funeral is expected to take place in Vienna.
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