Friends and former colleagues have paid tribute to a journalist who inspired many with her coverage of the arts.

Former Watford Observer writer Grelle White, who spent many years at the paper, died on December 4 aged 77 after a long illness.

Born in Denmark, Grelle began her journalism career working in the cartoon sector before she moved to a national newspaper in Copenhagen.

She moved to England in the mid 1960s and married before joining the Observer in 1975. With a passion for the arts, Grelle helped produce a series of magazines for Watford and the surrounding area, including the leisure and culture magazine Go.

Former Observer features editor Lindi Bilgorri said: “When I arrived at the Watford Observer as features editor, Grelle was my person to go to for information on the arts in the area. She knew everything that was going on, especially her association with Chenies Manor. She wrote lovely stories for me on the arts and often at the very last moment, somehow she would always find something that was interesting. It is a great sadness she has now passed away.”

Watford Observer:

Grelle, left, pictured with Oliver Phillips, and former Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill at a book launch in 2013

Former Observer sports editor and assistant editor Oliver Phillips described Grelle as an “inspired journalist”.

He said: “After marriage and settling in England in 1964, she put time aside in 1975 to start to work part-time and eventually full-time on all aspects of journalism at the Watford Observer. That was a remarkable achievement in what was to her a foreign language.

“Her expertise and abundant enthusiasm brought a fresh spark to our leisure and culture magazine, Go, and invigorated the Watford Area Arts Forum. She was a dedicated and inspired journalist, one of the best known in the locality, and Grelle was a supportive, popular colleague and delightful company.”

Watford Observer:

(left to right) Former Watford Observer editor Peter Wilson-Leary, Pam Wise from South Oxhey choir, Grelle White, and Don Bailey, who was captain of West Herts Golf Club

In 2005, Grelle helped found the Watford Area Arts Forum, and helped create a successful magazine.

Current forum chairman Helen Nicell says Grelle brought a “tongue in cheek” style to her writing.

She said: “Her journalism skills were outstanding with a witty and sometimes tongue-in-cheek style. She also organised charity golf days and supported local groups including Little Cassiobury House, Watford Writers and Chenies Manor. Grelle was a huge inspiration to me and many others. She will be greatly missed.”

Grelle leaves a husband Brian, three children, and grandchildren. She will be cremated at Breakspear Road Crematorium in Ruislip on Tuesday.