Julie Leadbetter

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Daily Express City sub-editor Julie Leadbetter has died in hospital of liver and kidney failure at the age of 55.

Julie, who always spoke up at NUJ chapel meetings to protest at the latest Desmond outrage, died within 12 hours of doctors turning off her life support.

Her sons are aged 15 and 20 and are being looked after at home by their father who was divorced from Julie but had moved back in to help look after them.

The following is a tribute from Socialist Worker.

Julie Leadbetter, a lifelong workplace activist and revolutionary socialist, has died at the tragically early age of 55.

Julie was born in Basingstoke, and first became politically active at the University of Warwick in the 1970s.

She spent a year on an exchange in the US, making friendships which lasted a lifetime.

Julie then came to London and got a job at the Guardian newspaper on Fleet Street.

At first she was an advertising telesales rep and later in the paper’s library. Her wit, sense of humour and outgoing personality made her a great success.

She also quickly established her activist credentials in the job, taking on the management over their refusal to allow gay personal ads on Valentine’s Day.

Julie was active in her union branch on all the major issues of the day—including abortion rights, the Irish struggle, the fight against cruise missile deployments and against the fascist National Front.

Julie took nurses to speak at Fleet Street union meetings in support of their dispute, which eventually led to a 24-hour solidarity strike by Fleet Street electricians. She also organised Fleet Street solidarity with the 1984-5 miners’ strike.

Julie later retrained as a journalist. She took part in several strikes against attacks on trade union rights at the Mirror, and supported co-workers against increasing numbers of disciplinary cases at the Express.

But she still found time to be active in the community in Tottenham, where she lived for many years. Julie was finally made redundant two years ago.

Julie leaves a sister Sue, her former husband Seyhan, and her sons Adem and Sami. Her many friends and comrades will remember her for her warmth, hospitality, humour and strength. She will be missed.

Sue Sparks

© 2005-2019 Alastair McIntyre