'Passionate' former Burnley Express journalist dies at the age of 67

Iris ClappIris Clapp
Iris Clapp | other
A much-loved Burnley-born former Express journalist who made her name with the Colchester Gazette has died at the age of 67.

Iris Clapp, who lived in New Town, Colchester, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and died at St Helena Hospice, having worked as the news and features editor for the Colchester Gazette between 1980 and 2009.

Born to Elizabeth and Ken Murray, who met in Burnley after Elizabeth left Austria following World War II and started working in a local mill, Iris had always been a prolific reader and writer as a child, according to her sister Linda.

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Eventually completing a journalism course at Harris College in Preston, Iris started working on the Rossendale Free Press in 1972 but left to study English Literature at the University of Kent in Canterbury in 1975, eventually working for the Burnley Express following her graduation.

“She was passionate about journalism, she loved everything about it," said Linda. "She loved her job and it suited her to a tee. She wanted the truth to be told and for people to know what others might want to be kept hidden [and] she did not broadly like politicians because they were not especially open or forthright."

Having moved to Colchester in 1980, Iris was passionate about journalism and even interviewed former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during her illustrious career. Deeply loved by her colleagues, Iris also helped to mentor generations of trainee journalists during her time at the Gazette.

A Liverpool FC fan and trustee of the Burnley Boys and Girls’ Club, Iris went on to become a learning administrator with Colchester Institute and took a training course with Amnesty International so she could give talks about it after leaving the Gazette.

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“She was passionate about everything to do with people," said Linda. "Things did not mean anything to her, apart from her books and her music, it was people who mattered. It did not matter where you came from what you had, she treated everyone the same. She was young at heart and loved the children of her friends and family.

"She was fun-loving and was the life and soul of any party," Linda added.

Iris is survived by her sister, Linda; brother-in-law Peter; nephews James and Douglas; and great niece, Ruby.