Metro pays tribute to beloved parenting columnist Sarah Whiteley following her death

Sarah Whiteley was a Metro columnist and much-loved member of the team (Picture: Sarah Whiteley)

It is with a heavy heart that we notify readers of the death of Sarah Whiteley, Metro.co.uk’s parenting columnist and beloved opinion team member. 

The brilliant journalist, mother to Theo and Immy, and wife to Tom passed away suddenly on 10 March, aged 39.

Sarah joined the Metro team two years ago as a regular freelancer, and it wasn’t long before she felt like part of the family; part of the fabric. 

Sarah’s warm, Geordie voice would musically boom over Zoom each morning. Her standard greeting of ‘hey chick’ and beaming smile was enough to brighten the greyest day. 

As a team, we are grieving the loss of not only an extremely talented colleague, but a dear friend. 

An avid reader, Sarah was always on hand for a book recommendation. She’d have us all in awe whenever she went on one of her daily runs over lunch. When anyone was going through a hard time, she’d always be the first to send a kind word, offer an ear and some wise words. 

Sarah loved reading, and was determined to pass on the passion to her kids (Picture: Sarah Whiteley)

On top of just being a really lovely and genuine woman, Sarah was one of the most talented journalists and editors I have ever worked with. 

‘This edit might be tricky, I’ll give it my best shot but I’m not sure what I can do’, Sarah would say with concern in her voice. The first time, I might have believed her, but it wasn’t long before we all realised she possessed magic. 

Whatever she turned her hand to – commissioning, writing, editing, conducting phone interviews – Sarah had such skill, tact, and kindness that you couldn’t help but admire her. 

When the news of her death was announced, hundreds of colleagues from her 16 years in the industry paid tribute, sharing memories of her infectious energy and incredible power. Her professionalism, kindness and very special way with people will never be forgotten. 

As Sarah said in one of her columns, ‘Ever since I decided I wanted to be a magazine journalist, I dedicated myself to making that happen’.

Sarah was a doting mother to her two children, Theo and Immy (Picture: Sarah Whiteley)

After attending Durham University to study English literature and history, she moved home and worked in a call centre while she saved enough money for a journalism course, all the while squeezing in work experience on local magazines. 

Six months later, she was in Essex, studying law, shorthand and design before ending up in London working for magazines including Love It!, Reveal and Best, where she worked her way up to Features Editor. 

It was a promotion that Sarah said ‘meant the world’ to her. ‘I’d often stay late to do an interview or give up my weekends for a story. It was all worth it to see my name published underneath the features I’d written.’ 

It was during this time that Sarah met her husband Tom, became Sarah Pearmain, and had their first child, Theo – or ‘T’, as she lovingly referred to him. 

‘From the moment he was placed in my arms, I felt that rush of love that everyone gets all misty-eyed when they talk about’, she wrote in one of her many parenting columns for us. 

‘Me and my husband Tom agreed, as they were still stitching up my stomach, that we had to have another baby, just to recreate it.’ 

Sarah and Tom fell in love 10 years ago(Picture: Sarah Whiteley)

‘From the moment he was placed in my arms, I felt that rush of love that everyone gets all misty-eyed when they talk about’, Sarah wrote about having her son Theo (Picture: Sarah Whiteley)

Two years later, Sarah and Tom got their wish and welcomed their daughter Immy – their ‘cheeky, grinning little girl’. 

A North East native, Sarah moved back to Low Fell so that her and Tom could raise their children with the support of Sarah’s doting mum and dad, and much-loved sister. 

I had the privilege of looking after Sarah’s parenting column with Metro, after she went freelance. It meant that every Thursday, we got to have a natter about what she wanted to write about that week. 

She might take on politics, or parenting trends, or mum guilt, or – best of all – what happened in her life that week. 

I got to hear her tell her stories, like the one about when her kids watched Mary Poppins for the first time and her and Tom had to contend with whether to tell Theo and Immy that Mary wasn’t real after they fell in love with the fictional nanny. 

Or the time Immy cooked dinner for the family. Or when Theo innocently told Immy what they’d got her for her birthday. 

When Sarah spoke about her children, her face lit up. She would talk about how she loved what a caring little boy Theo was, and how proud she was of Immy’s independence and confidence. 

Getting a glimpse into her and Tom’s home through twice-daily Zoom meetings, it was clear how much love filled their house. From Tom’s chuckles in the background of calls, to Theo and Immy’s smiley appearances, we all saw an incredibly happy family. 

It was clear how much love filled their house (Picture: Sarah Whiteley)

She often reminisced about her and Tom’s trip to SouthEast Asia, with one of her favourite memories being them getting up at 4am to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia. She wrote in her columns about the joy she got from spoiling him rotten at Christmas; about how much she treasured the day dates they would plan every couple of months. 

She was the best mum, wife, friend and colleague anyone could have asked for and her loss is felt deeply. 

Sarah is most missed by her husband Tom, children Theo, 6, and Immy, 4, mum, dad and sister.

Sarah’s family are fundraising for Alzheimer’s Society in her memory. You can donate here

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