Deirdre (Dee) Adcock, who worked for the Echo at Dorchester and was a former chief reporter and arts editor of the Salisbury Journal for some years, has died at Joseph Weld Hospice in Dorchester, after a short illness. She was 64.

She started her training at the Andover Advertiser in 1974 and moved to the Salisbury Journal as a senior reporter five years later, becoming chief reporter in 1982. After a career break for the birth of her two children, Emma and Jonathan, she returned to the Journal initially part-time before becoming arts editor in the early 1990s.

In 2003 she moved with her family to Dorset, where she worked both for the Dorset Echo and the Blackmore Vale Magazine. One of her most memorable stories featured the late Norrie Woodall, whose sister Gertrude Bugler was Thomas Hardy’s Tess in the original Hardy Players production at Dorchester. Dee reported that Norrie’s greatest desire, as she neared her 100th birthday, was to see the Players re-formed. When the New Hardy Players were formed, Norrie appeared with them – and Dee was there to report it.

At the Blackmore Vale Magazine, she was particularly known for her animal stories – lost cats, brave dogs or cases of cruelty, neglect or livestock rustling, which always made her angry.

Dee was a traditional reporter, says Fanny Charles, the former BVM editor: “She believed that you should talk to people, not just email or trawl around social media. We all loved her unique telephone interviewing style, particularly with people who didn’t want to talk to her – we used to say that she cuddled the subject into submission. She believed passionately in being accurate and fair, and often took on stories to support local people who were up against big organisations.”

After leaving the newspaper business in 2017, Dee retrained as a 101 operator with Dorset Police at their Winfrith headquarters. She was so popular with her colleagues that the building’s flag was flown at half-mast when the news came of her untimely death.

Dee leaves her daughter, Emma, son Jonathan and grand-daughters Poppy and Lilah.

The funeral will be held at Higher Ground Meadow, Hackney, Corscombe, Dorchester, DT2 0QN on September 19 at noon. Donations in her memory may be sent to the Weldmar Hospicecare at Dorchester.