A member of the IW Observer team has died after a short illness, aged just 61.
Wendy Willmott joined the newspaper just a year ago. Although officially in sales, she would cheerfully turn her hand to anything needed and quickly became a key member of the team.
Wendy was born in Stratford, and attended Lady Edridge Grammar School in Croyden. On leaving school at 16 she decided to start earning a living and her bubbly personality and willingness to put in hard work and long hours to achieve success quickly landed her in sales and marketing roles. In 1982 she joined the sales team of the Guardian newspaper in London, and found she loved the fast-moving and dynamic newspaper environment. A sales and management role with the Portsmouth News tempted her down to the South Coast, and she never left.
Living near the sea Wendy developed a passion for all things maritime, and she soon blended her interests and experience by working on specialist magazines and journals for the boating and seafaring community.
Ten years ago, after the breakdown of her marriage she met aircraft machinist John Daniels, forming an instant connection with him on their first date in a Mexican restaurant. The new romance soon blossomed into a sparky and fun-loving relationship, and they became inseparable. This brought her to Cowes where she found a new role with Seasafe Systems where her positive ‘can do’ approach and organising skills soon made her a stalwart of the business. She also took on the role of secretary for British Marine on the Island and organised their annual Fun on the Water event.
A sales visit to Seasafe from the IW Observer sparked her old interest in newspaper sales and after eight years with Seasafe she started organising us all at the IW Observer, something she excelled at. As the Covid pandemic unfolded she persuaded John, by now retired. that he should start delivering the newspaper to our outlets around the Island, and much enjoyed getting out and about helping him.
A great administrator, she was also skilled at crafts, making and selling miniature gardens for dolls houses, and was a regular exhibitor at craft fairs around the Island. She had a great interest in history, especially both World Wars and several years ago took part in a poignant visit to Ypres. The date of her funeral is yet to be announced, but her great love of animals is reflected in a request for donations to the Dogs Trust in her memory.
Wendy leaves her partner John and son and daughter-in-law Darren and Bonnie who live in Gosport. She was also a loving grandmother to Amelia (5) and Charlie (3).