Memorial for Katharine Whitehorn CBE

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A heartfelt tribute to Katharine Whitehorn CBE, IWF co-founder and champion of women in the UK, brought together multigenerational IWF members, her friends and family to celebrate the legendary journalist.

On Tuesday, 2nd February 78 participants, including Katharine Whitehorn’s son Bernard, came together on Zoom to experience a multi-media celebration of her life masterfully produced by Susan Young, former Chair and current Vice-Chair of IWF UK. We were treated to a cornucopia of photos, stories, quotes and recordings, including a video of Katharine describing the importance of friendship.

A trailblazer, mother and acclaimed writer, Katharine unleashed the female voice in journalism, opening the door for others to follow. Close friends and fans shared their insightful and joyful stories and experiences of the ground-breaking and prominent women the public loved, and admired.

Mary Baker and Barbara Hosking CBE, two other women who helped to found IWF UK, led the outpouring of stories about the impact of Katharine’s life. Her warm, generous personality, wonderful sense of humour and great mind came to life as Mary spoke of the bond they shared during their long friendship and their purpose in supporting women in the UK. Barbara elaborated on the deep understanding of friendship Katharine possessed. Christine Hancock shared accolades about her. Lynne Berry CBE recounted how Katharine taught, teased, supported, challenged and reached out to ‘take her up’. Portrait artist, Sarah Richardson shared the honour she felt when she was invited to paint this female icon. Geraldine Sharpe-Newton spoke of the influence Katharine had on the media industry and encouraged us to read Katharine’s wit and wisdom. Dr Neslyn Watson-Druée CBE had an inspirational conversation with Katharine who advised her to ‘Never forget to display the courage of who you really are.’

Stories of long lunches, numerous glasses of Champagne, breakfasts at the Ritz and travels abroad with this beloved women of incredible intelligence, a glorious sense of humour, unstoppable courage, and inspiring achievement, grounded in common sense, left everyone missing Katharine’s presence. We hope she would have loved the evening enormously. And as someone who only knew her very briefly, I can confidently say she had great admiration, deep affection and enormous respect for all of those who loved her. Rest in Peace, Katharine.

Kathryn Pretzel-Shiels


To watch a recording of this event click here to be directed to the Members only section of the website and find it within the event write up in Members News (Right hand side menu bar).

Katharine Whitehorn CBE
Katharine Whitehorn CBE