Tributes have been paid to a 38-year-old journalist who has died of cancer after 17 years on the North-West Evening Mail.

Features writer Jo-anne Davies fought the disease for five and a half years before passing away on Tuesday.

She had held several different roles in her time at the Barrow-based newspaper, including news reporter and community correspondent.

Jo Davies with husband Matt

Jo Davies with husband Matt

Her husband Matt, the Evening Mail’s sports editor, said: “As she said to me the other day, squeezing my hand and gleaming from ear to ear: ‘I’ve had a ball Matt.’

“We’ve been blown away by all the messages of support on Facebook, and via email and text, and by the knocks on the door from friends old and new, and the countless deliveries of cards, flowers and presents.

“Jo didn’t want you to feel sorry for her, but she was genuinely touched by all your kind messages. Right up to the end she kept a smile on her face and a positive attitude.

“Typical Jo. Selfless. That’s the way she lived her entire life. She made the world a brighter place and that’s all there is to say, really. We’re all going to miss her. It’s a very sad day for all of us, but just remember that ‘she had a ball’ and that we’ve all had a ball in her company too. Keep smiling.”

Matt, Jo’s family and friends are now planning to raise money for her chosen charities over the coming months and years, including the Furness General Hospital oncology unit, St Mary’s Hospice and the Eve Appeal.

Jonathan Lee, managing director of CN Media Group (Barrow), which publishes the North-West Evening Mail, said: “Jo had a smile for everyone. She was one of the most kind, thoughtful people I know.

“She was an excellent journalist. Always professional, Jo had a passion for people, and for telling their amazing stories.

“It didn’t matter if it was a major breaking news story, or a smaller community issue, Jo always gave each and every story 100 per cent.”