One of Scotland’s top journalists has died aged 66.
Former award-winning Press and Journal columnist and features writer Nicola Barry died at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh on Friday.
Yesterday her husband Alastair Murray led tributes to his “wonderful wife”, saying: “She lit up the room and she just had a wonderful smile and a wonderful personality.
“She also had a wonderful talent as a writer.
“She was one of those rare people who could get people to talk and they didn’t even realise they were talking.”
During her career she won a vast array of newspaper industry awards in recognition of her work.
Mr Murray said: “She had this amazing talent which sometimes she didn’t recognise in herself.
“She didn’t always realise how good she was.
“She won 27 awards and most of them are up in our loft. I said we should take them down into the conservatory and she said people would think she was big-headed.
“I said that’s fine if you’ve got something to be big-headed about.
“She was a lovely, lovely person and a brilliant writer.
“She was also a wonderful wife, friend and stepmother to my two daughters.”
The couple, who married in 2008 and lived in Edinburgh, had been together for nearly 20 years.
Nicola joined the Press and Journal in 1998 and went on to win UK Columnist of the Year three times during her stint here.
Mr Murray said she had loved working in the north-east.
He recalled: “We had a fantastic social life in Aberdeen. She really enjoyed her work and she got free reign to write what she wanted.”
P&J features editor Sonja Cox said: “I was fortunate to work with Nicola for many years and will always remember her ability to laugh at herself, and stay cool while others around her flapped. We laughed till we cried sometimes.”
Retired P&J sub-editor, Tom Forsyth, said Nicola had been a “wonderful friend” and a “terrific writer”.
He said: “She was a consummate professional and an absolutely wonderful journalist. She had such a personality. Everyone who ever dealt with her knew they had met someone special.
“She was a warm human being and a wonderful person to know.
“It is a great loss.”
During her career, Nicola also wrote for The Scotsman, The Edinburgh Evening News and the Sunday Express.
In 2007 she published her memoirs, Mother’s Ruin – an account of her troubled childhood living with an alcoholic mother.
Her first work of fiction, Fat? So! came out in 2014.
Her publisher, Jenny Brown Associates, said: “It’s with enormous sadness that we learnt of the death of our friend and author Nicola Barry.
“Her memoir is a remarkable and moving account of alcohol addiction and its devastating effects on a family.
“Nicola was great company, funny and generous. We will miss her greatly.”
The funeral will take place on January 31 at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh at 1pm, followed by a service of thanksgiving in Colinton Parish Church at 2.15pm.