Cherry Farrow’s obituary | Media

Cherry Farrow, who died aged 81, had a long and successful career in international media – but in the midst of it all she suddenly quit to join the voluntary and charitable sector.

She was the media professional to the hilt – journalist, columnist, publicist, television news researcher, screenwriter, director and program producer – and she had the nimble mind to go with it.

Cherry was born in Northampton, to Harold Farrow, an estate agent and auctioneer, and Gladys (née Cox). In the late 1950s, after attending school in Shepperton, Surrey, she went to Kingston Polytechnic to study journalism.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Cherry was a London-based researcher for the CBS program 60 Minutes, setting up stories in Africa and the Middle East for Dan Rather and Morley Safer. She then joined the BBC, working first on Whicker’s World and then on One Pair of Eyes. with journalist James Cameron.

Cherry’s career was rich and varied; she thrived on deadlines, pressure, and swearing (the soldiers are nowhere near the height of her output). But in the early 80s, she gave up everything, took a nutrition course and joined VSO, where she became a field agent in Papua New Guinea.

During the two years she was there, Cherry traveled throughout the Pacific Islands, writing a book, Pacific Odyssey, along the way. But this was no ordinary travelogue. For example: “If there was a paradise on earth, and some of the islands certainly came close to it, then it was for the white men – not for the islanders who had been robbed, exploited and brutalized for many years. The realities were, and are, gold before coconuts, oil before fishing rights, and nuclear weapons before human rights.

Back in the UK, Cherry returned to television and became associate producer of David Munro’s anti-war trilogy The Four Horsemen (1986), which revealed the imbalance between guns and aid, war and starvation. In his book of the series, Munro wrote: “[She] put up with my determination and my impulsiveness… was always there during three sometimes difficult years, during which she succeeded against all odds in making me understand.

In another career move, she turned to the environment, joining WWF-UK and later the RSPB as a media and policy adviser. She worked on meaty topics such as the Kyoto Protocol, the EU Common Fisheries Policy, COP processes and the Doha Climate Change Agreement, and was in her element.

In retirement, Cherry found online college courses in language, art and history, and once immersed, she would head to the local library to pick up an armful of relevant books. She also loved movies, theater, friends, restaurants and gardening.

She is survived by her older sister, Joy Jelffs.

Comments are closed.