Tributes have been paid to Sophie Shardlow, a former BBC Radio Leicester editor, who died earlier this week following a three-year battle with bowel cancer.
She passed away suddenly at her home on Tuesday morning (March 28), after being diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer in 2020. It became terminal, and she was given 3 months to live in Feb 2022.
Her career at the BBC spanned over 22 years, before her condition made her no longer able to work.
She worked on former presenter Dennis McCarthy’s show before becoming the lead for radio teams in Leicester and Nottingham.
Her time at the BBC included guiding Radio Nottingham’s campaign for 11,000 knitted poppies to mark the centenary of World War One. The campaign ended up getting more than 100,000 of the knitted flowers.
In 2018, she was one of the judges at Leicester Curry Awards, and throughout her Cancer battle, she worked to raise awareness of the disease by sharing her journey.
In a tribute, on LinkedIn, her husband Mark said: “She was a realist. But she decided to live life with inspiring positivity when given 3 months to live in Feb 2022. She was a brilliant and creative radio editor who encouraged me to be bold and different. She wanted us to carry on as much as possible with ‘normal’ life. I stepped down from virtually all work last August so we could have adventures with the limitations of her illness. We had no bucket list. She chose time with friends and family seeing the places and nature she loved close to home. And she relished it. We’ll miss her charm, laughter, love and wicked fun.”
Former colleagues have also shared tributes to Sophie, with many describing her as a “force of nature,” and praising her for her “brave battle” with Cancer.
George Oliver, Director of Loughborough-based communications agency 1284, met Sophie when she became Editor at BBC Leicester and he was Editor of the Leicester Mercury.
“I remember that she marched into my office on St George Street soon after she started in the city,” he said. “She went and perched herself on my window sill, and started expounding on how we all ought to be doing news. I immediately thought ‘This is someone I can work with’.
“We went on to have a great working relationship and she became a valued guest of the Mercury at events and awards nights.
“The relationship was most successful through our shared investment in recruiting a Local Democracy Reporter. While some other regions struggled to reach agreement over their local relationship, the Leicestershire partnership flourished and went on to win various scoops and awards.
“The reasons for that were simple: we had a great reporter and a trusting partnership with the local BBC. Sophie was an underlying factor: she was a competitor, a business partner, a great newsroom leader, and a brilliant journalist.”
Former BBC Newsbeat presenter Christian Hewgill described her as a “sunny, bright, joyful soul.”
“She fought an incredibly brave battle with cancer & inspired so many along the way,” he said.
Stuart Thomas, Senior Head of Productions for the Midlands, said: “Sophie was a force of nature. She led teams in BBC Radio Nottingham and BBC Radio Leicester with brilliant ideas and incredible humanity.
“From ‘Sophie behind the glass’ with Dennis McCarthy to running her own radio stations – she always made sure our audiences got the best possible radio. She will be greatly missed by all.”
You can read Sophie’s journey, in her own words, at: https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/how-we-can-help/real-life-stories/personal-experiences/sophie-shardlow,-nottingham/