TODAY, the Adver pays tribute to a much-missed friend and long-serving colleague who died suddenly this month.

Felicity Harrison, known to everyone as Flicky, worked here for more than 30 years as an entertainment feature writer, becoming a familiar face to many in the town’s arts scene and shining a light on big name acts and local talent.

After leaving the paper in 2019, Flicky started her own business and covered events around the town with a smile on her face and camera in hand.

Former Adver editor Gary Lawrence said: “Flicky was almost the first person I was introduced to when I joined the Gazette in Swindon 20 years ago. I never saw her without a smile.

“She was the consummate regional newspaper journalist, able to turn her hand to almost anything. She was reliable, fun to be around and passionate about Swindon, particularly its arts and music.

“In her interviews, she gave the same respect and attention to four spotty teens in a band from Old Town as she did to any of the stars appearing at the Wyvern and she was a fierce champion of any new performer who emerged from the town.

“Above all she was a lovely person who wandered the office in her trademark bare feet, supportive to younger members of staff and an able lieutenant to anyone who needed her assistance.

“It was people like her who made the Adver what it was. It seems so cruel that she was establishing a new career when she was taken ill.

“She had an awful lot more to give. She will be a huge loss to her many friends and to the town.”

Adver editor Pete Gavan said: “It’s incredibly sad news. Flicky was a great journalist and a great part of the Adver team I inherited.

“She had her finger on the pulse of what was happening around the town on the arts and music scene and always got the best out of people in her interviews. She’ll be much missed.”

News editor Tina Robins said: “Flicky was one of the first people I recognised when I returned to the Adver newsroom after a gap of just over a decade and I don’t think she’d changed a bit.

“She was a kind and friendly soul who was always ready to help trainee reporters and I know she’ll be remembered fondly by them.

“And knowing her, she’d probably be embarrassed by all the tributes.”

Local democracy reporter Aled Thomas said: “You could tell just by looking that Flicky was very keen on her music.

I always thought her personal style was reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, and she’d go for a walk every lunchtime in quite a dramatic long coat and hat – she was quite rock’n’roll.

“You could hear when she’d be really into a story because the bangles she’d wear on her wrists would clank on her desk in time with her typing.

“Artists and musicians in Swindon knew her well because she was so involved in the local scene and they wanted to speak to her specifically as they knew she’d be enthusiastic and give them a good write-up.

“She was a lot of fun to have in the office and a very sparky presence, and it was both a very sad day when she left and a terrible shock to learn she had died.”

Reporter Daniel Angelini said: “Flicky was always so cheerful around the office and to everyone she spoke to, full of humour and kindness.

“I enjoyed overhearing her interviewing people over the phone on the desk next to mine, effortlessly managing to put them at ease by chatting to them like she was having a catch-up with an old friend no matter who they were, even if it was the first time they had met.

“After she left the Adver, it was lovely to see her again as she popped up here and there on odd jobs and stories I was also covering. The last time I spoke to her didn’t seem so final at the time, just a casual ‘see you at the next one’.

“News of her death came as a terrible shock and I will miss her. RIP.”

Former reporter Tom Haworth said: "Terribly sad news. I had the pleasure of sharing a newsroom with Flicky for a couple of years and she was a joy to work with. Many fond memories, for sure.

"She will be dearly missed."

Fiona Scott worked at the Adver between 1991 and 1995,as a reporter, crime reporter and business editor. She said: “Flicky was a vibrant, colourful, spiritual woman who embraced life to the full.

“She loved Swindon and particularly the music and arts scene and was a champion of all of the artistic disciplines.

“She loved writing about and discovering talent in our diverse community. I was lucky to work with her and we stayed friends for almost 30 years. I will miss her.”

Former colleague Jo Smyth said: “I first met Flicky at the end of the 80s when I joined the Adver as a cub reporter.

“She was a copytaker at the time, and so friendly and welcoming to anyone new who started.

“Calm, unflappable, thoughtful and – most of all – always cheerful and smiling, with never a bad word to say about anybody. A lovely lady who has been taken far too soon.”

Former feature writer Barrie Hudson told the Swindon Link: "Flicky was simply one of the best people I have ever met. Like a lot of inherently good people, she had little idea of the number of lives she changed for the better.

“During the latter part of our time at the Adver, I would give her a lift home from its Dorcan office every evening, and I cherish the memory of our setting the world to rights during those nightly trips.”

Flicky’s loss will be felt around the town.

Charlie Metcalfe from Threshold Housing Link said: “I met Flicky when she covered a charity event I had organised for Threshold Housing, Swindon’s homeless charity.

“Flicky came along to the event dressed in a lovely evening gown to cover the charity ball. She took some wonderful photos and wrote a lovely article about the event.

“From then on, we connected on social media and would see each other often on the Swindon business circuit.

“I was delighted to hear from her that she had started up her own videography business and we had planned on working together on more events for the charity and to help her business once we could get together after the pandemic.

“Flicky was a beautiful lady with a heart of gold, always wanting to help wherever she could. What with with me most is her infectious smile. Rest in peace - keep smiling down on us.”

Jane Ellis said in a post on the Beehive page: “I am absolutely devastated, my wonderful, talented, amazingly kind friend has died.

“She was my rock and knew me better than I did myself. My thoughts go out to everyone whose lives she touched, especially the Beehive coven of old.”

Flicky died of stomach cancer on Saturday.