I know that a number among us will be very sad to learn that Vicky Madden has died.
Vicky began her journey in medical journalism at Mediciné, at a time when videos were beginning to take off as a medium of education and promotion. She then took time out to bring up her family of three boys in Brockley and then settling in Whitstable. Vicky re-entered the fray at Mims Magazine, one of the Haymarket stable and arch rival of Update.
I worked with Vicky at Mims Mag where we both struggled with the house style before finding refuge on the news desk. Although, on a fortnightly with a print deadline at least two weeks before the print date it tended to be rather old news. We generally swept up the scraps left by the newshounds including Kathryn Bingham, Jim McGuigan and Louise Bromley on GP next door.
Vicky played an important role in what was to be my career in publishing. In 1989 she went along to an interview for a new magazine. Realising it wasn’t for her and with characteristic generosity of spirit she told them that they needed Tim Dean. I joined Prescriber in April 1990 and never looked back for the next 20 years or so.
Even though we were with different publishers we still met up through work at some of the many press conferences and trips. During the 80s and into the early 90s, press trips were still a ‘thing’ and we would be taken around the world to conferences, often put up in fabulous hotels and shown the sights. Of course, they liked it if we attended at least some of the sessions and their press conference.
One trip that Vicky and I would often talk about was to Berlin, as the wall was crumbling. We bought bits of the wall and browsed the stalls selling items of East German soldier’s uniform. We wandered around the rather forlorn Brandenberg gate that was rather stranded at the border. We must have been some of the last through Checkpoint Charlie and got an East German stamp in our passports.
After Mims Mag, Vicky joined the ranks of freelancers and continued to travel far and wide to conferences. Vicky was one of the few freelancers who could bear to sell in stories to news desks (a pretty thankless task). Her charm rarely failed to encourage me and no doubt others to find room for a small piece of copy!
Sadly, Vicky’s health began to deteriorate and limit her mobility. Despite this she remained steadfastly cheerful, as active as she could be and as interested in people as she ever was. Her funeral was held at the lovely church in Boughton where her parents were buried and her two boys married.
With thanks to Tim for this tribute to Vicky.
Tim Dean has asked that if you have any memories of Vicky that you add them in the comments section below this article.