Deborah Hutton Campaign: Profile of an inspiring woman

11:31 28 March 2012

Deborah Hutton

Deborah Hutton

Archant

A profile of Deborah Hutton, whose life and death provides a warning on the dangers of smoking as a young person.

Deborah Hutton was an acclaimed journalist who became health editor at Vogue while being author of numerous books.

She smoked as a young woman - regularly between the ages of 17 and 24 – and despite leading a healthy life once she quit, she was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer in 2004. She died at her home in Islington on July 15, 2005, aged 49.

Deborah was a vivacious woman with great strength of personality whose dedication as a friend during her lifetime was repaid with love and support from her loved ones during her short and dignified illness.

Husband Charlie Stebbings says: “She was the most riveting person to be with, so entertaining and humourous. She made things happen, she was a real energiser.”

This energy rarely faltered during her illness, and she continued to write prolifically, in newspapers, magazines and on her own blog, while most significantly penned a book, entitled What Can I Do To Help?, a practical guide for cancer sufferers, their families and friends.

Her commitment to her writing was celebrated by many, and as a health editor she was rightly revered.

She practised what she preached too, leading a conspicuously healthy life; she jogged regularly, and was a self-confessed yoga freak and nutrition nut.

Born in 1955, one of twin sisters, Deborah was brought up in Norfolk. She studied English at York University, where she first met future husband Charlie, and left with a first class honours degree.

Her big break came shortly after, winning a placement on Vogue magazine. She quickly rose through the ranks from sub-editor to health editor, working for two of Vogue’s most formidable editors - Beatrix Miller and Anna Wintour.

Deborah made her name early on, when she wrote Vogue Complete Beauty, a highly-acclaimed beauty bible for women.

Meanwhile she juggled a successful writing career and being a devoted mother to her four children; Archie, Freddie, Romilly and Clemmie.

Her final book written during her illness was noted for its straight-talking and featured contributions from famous names including Cherie Blair, Alistair Campbell, Clive Anderson, Maureen Lipman and Sam Taylor-Wood among many others.

Towards the end of her life, she made it clear that something good should come from her death in highlighting the dangers of young people smoking.

After her death, this was the starting point for the Deborah Hutton Campaign and Cut Films competition.

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