A FORMER Lancashire Telegraph journalist has died after a five-year battle with leukaemia.

Gill Ellis was group editor of the Chorley, Preston and Blackpool Citizens and a senior sub-editor at the Telegraph's Blackburn offices also working on the Bolton News and Westmorland Gazette.

She left the company after 20 years in 2014 and retrained as a maths teacher. She was working at Bolton College when she became ill in 2016.

Gill, 55, returned to teaching in 2018, after chemotherapy and treatment at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

But the leukaemia returned in 2019 and Gill had a bone marrow transplant, which was ultimately unsuccessful.

She died peacefully on September 10 surrounded by her family.

Gill was married to former Citizen photographer John Ellis, and lived in Brinscall, near Chorley, in the house they built together.

John said: "Gill was always so positive and fought the leukaemia till the end."

Lancashire Telegraph deputy editor Roger Airey, who worked with Gill on the Citizens and the Telegraph, said: "Gill was a real grafter and work was never just a 9-5 job for her.

"She took immense pride in the publications she produced and would work until the papers had reached her own exacting standards before sending them to the printers.

"She was an exceptionally kind and positive person who would turn up for work wearing a huge smile every day.

"The sad news has touched a great number of Gill's former colleagues who to a person held her in extremely high regard both as a person and a journalist."

Former Citizen and Telegraph reporter Chris Gee, 52, was given his first job in the industry by Gill.

He said: "Gill gave me my first job as a reporter back in 2004 when she was editor of the Citizen series.

"She was passionate about local news and was a skilled newspaper person while at the same time being very considerate and nurturing to her staff.

"She helped many young journalists at the start of their career, giving them a grounding in local news which meant many of them went on to successful careers all over the UK.

"She was extremely well thought of by all in the North West newspaper industry who will remember her calm professionalism and kind and caring nature."

While a journalist, Gill joined the Territorial Army, 4th Battalion Queen's Lancashire Regiment (QLR), rising to captain and helped recruit officers at Fulwood Barracks.

She was also part of the Media Operations Group and was presented with the Queen's Jubilee Medal by Her Majesty when she helped cover the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002.

Before becoming a journalist, economics graduate Gill travelled in Europe and South America and helped set up a school in Bolivia.

She was a keen runner and a member of Darwen Dashers, taking part in charity races.

Gill and her husband shared an interest in metal detecting and were members of groups in Bolton and Preston.

John said Gill loved spending time with family and friends, holidays in France and walking her dogs in the woods.

She leaves husband John, parents Lorraine and George, brothers David and Alan and sister Elaine.

The funeral is on Thursday September 30 at 11am at St Paul’s Church, Withnell. John said people are being encouraged to wear colourful clothes.