Image: Christine Boyd
Journalist and columnist Cassandra Jardine has died at the age of 57. In 1989 she joined the Telegraph, where she contributed features, reports, and interviews until the end of her life.
Friends and colleagues remember her with love.
First day on The Daily Telegraph features desk, and I am seated opposite a woman with a mass of dark hair and a vividly coloured outfit, typing so ferociously that it sounds like artillery fire. She picks up the phone and talks at hyper-speed; she has five conversations in the time it usually takes to have one. She is a Whirling Dervish. She is hypnotic. She is, quite frankly, terrifying. And then she leaps up from behind her computer in a movement so fast it makes a Jack-in-the-Box look glacial. “Hello!” beams the Whirling Dervish, who happens to have the most cheerful, sing-song voice. “I’m Cass. Jolly lovely to meet you. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help!”
. . .she was enthusiastically social. A generous hostess at her home in Camberwell, south London, she was a superb cook who could produce meals at lightning speed, thinking nothing of knocking up a delicious concoction for 20 people at short notice.
. . .When Cass came to work, she didn’t stop being a parent. Oh, the endless calls she’d patiently take from her children, lost in Morocco with no money, perhaps. It was an incredible sight, watching her create calm out of the absolute chaos that came from being a full-time working mother of five children.
She took people in trouble into her home and under her wing.
. . .When she felt a cause was worthwhile, she would spend hours on the phone, for instance talking to mothers who’d had their children taken unjustly into care by social services. . .She was a guiding influence on the Telegraph Christmas charity appeal and her tireless work was much appreciated by many of the little known charities she championed. At the Telegraph’s 2010 Christmas service at St Bride’s church – she was already suffering from lung cancer – she spoke for nearly half an hour, passionately and with no notes, about the three chosen charities.
Cassandra wrote a column for the Telegraph about parenting, and was the author of two books: How to be a Better Parent: No Matter How Badly Your Children Behave or How Busy You Are (2003); and Positive Not Pushy: How to make the most of your child’s potential (2005). She wrote a series of articles about her illness to help raise public awareness. In 2011 she received the Lung Cancer Journalism Award and the Excellence in Oncology Award for this work.
She is remembered for her sunny courage, sparkling energy, and warm kindness. She is survived by her husband, the actor William Chubb, and their two sons and three daughters.
Ave atque Vale.