Warm tributes after death of newspaper stalwart, aged 80

Anne Hilton: 'A supremely professional reporter'
Anne Hilton: 'A supremely professional reporter'

Anne Hilton, former assistant editor of the Sussex Express, has died at the age of 80.

She spent more than 40 years in the newspaper business, and is probably best remembered as the local government reporter for the Express.

Anne joined the title in 1974 when she was given charge of the newly-launched Crowborough office. From there she moved on to the head office in Lewes, covering the meetings of East Sussex County Council. She retired in 1998.

The only interruption to her career was at the beginning when she had a family of two boys.

During the break she took a part-time job in Eastbourne typing the memoirs of a former Director of Naval Intelligence, the man who employed Ian Fleming – later author of the James Bond books.

Anne firmly believed that the Director was ‘M’ in the famous spy stories.

Former colleague Rupert Taylor said: “One thing I remember about Anne was her willingness to help anyone with a story, always offering sound advice.

“That and an incredible brain – she would consider it a matter of personal shame if she failed to complete The Times cryptic crossword in her lunch hour every day.”

Peter Austin, who worked with Anne as deputy editor and then editor of the Sussex Express in the 1970s and 80s, said: “Anne Hilton was a supremely professional reporter.

“She was able to concisely and quickly interpret the most detailed official documents and her fast, immaculate shorthand ensured total accuracy in her coverage of meetings. Anne was intelligent and astute and was highly respected by the local government community and by all who worked with her.”

Another former colleague, Carole Buchan, said: “I worked with Anne for a number of years when she was news editor of the Sussex Express. She had the sharpest brain of anyone I knew.

“She was a journalist of the old school – highly respected by all who worked with her. She was the local government reporter for many years and had the ability to make sense of council reports and slice through the jargon in a way which made them instantly understandable to readers.

“She was a Yorkshirewoman through and through and called the proverbial spade a spade! She never forgot her northern roots.

“She loved newspapers and the world of journalism. There will only ever be one Anne Hilton.”

The funeral service will take place at the Downs Crematorium (Family Chapel), Brighton, on Thursday, March 22, at 12 noon.