Posted: September 16th, 2015
VILMA SMITH joined the Daily Herald straight from college as junior features secretary working for such great names as Ann Pacey, Tony Carthew, Arthur Eperon, Fred Laws and Jon Akass.
She transferred to the Sunday People in 1964 under Sam Campbell on features desk where Mike Gabbert, Trevor Kempson and Ken (Bill) Gardner exposed the football bribes.
She worked on the soaking wet diaries of Chay Blyth and John Ridgeway when they returned from rowing across the Atlantic in 1966, and later worked for Joe Grizzard, Ernie Burrington, [Sir] Nick Lloyd and Bill Hagerty.
Vilma married Sunday Mirror sports editor Tony Smith at Woolwich Town Hall in 1984. He died in 2014.
On joining the committee, Vilma said: I remember well the day the bouncing Czech went overboard and the growing despondency of Mirror staff as the realisation of his pension plundering came to light. The hard work of the AMP has made us strong and confident in the future and I hope my contribution will enhance that confidence.
“After a bereavement, widows and widowers feel isolated, particularly if it was their spouse who was the Mirror pensioner and they lose contact with colleagues. Recently widowed, I know how important it is to hear the blue and white envelope drop through the letterbox each month. I am sure with the determined work of the committee it will long continue to do so.”
She added: “A couple of nights a week I am a volunteer steward at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon, and no I don’t sell ice creams from a tray with a torch! I also do a couple of days a week at the Diamond Centre for Disabled Riders mainly helping under-5s with cerebral palsy.
“Tony used to love performing his solo Winkle Song at Singing For The Brain in Epsom run by the Alzeiheimer’s Society so I still go there to make the tea. I love holidaying in south of France and enjoy boating on the Thames at Windsor. But most of all I love my cat Diesel.”
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