Tributes have been paid to Liz Roubinas, former receptionist and “The face of The Hunts Post” for more than 30 years.
Liz Roubinas, The face of The Hunts Post for more than 30 years has died aged 66.
She died of Covid-19. She had been suffering from lung cancer.
Her funeral was at St Bartholmew’s Church, Great Stukeley, on Thursday, June 4.
The paper’s receptionist, and for many its spirit, will be remembered for treating everyone she met with compassion.
Liz was the most patient listener, whether the visitor was someone who needed help with the words for a notice about the loss of someone they loved or someone upset about a report of a court case.
She was born Elizabeth Razzell in Borehamwood. Her father was a purchaser for British Steel. The family came to Huntingdon when the company moved to St Peter’s Road in 1960.
Liz first worked for The Hunts Post as a teenager, as a sales rep. She left after her older sister Suzane’s husband died and the two women ran the couple’s business, BTF Plastics. After Liz lost Suzane to cancer, she returned to the Hunts Post in the 1990s.
Paul Richardson, editor of The Hunts Post then, said: “Liz was a quiet phenomenon. As an editor for more than 30 years, I have never had a response like it when this ‘new person’ joined us on reception with people calling me and saying: ‘Is it true that Liz is back?’”
When I said it was, those people purred.
“Liz was like the mother hen of The Hunts Post, always generous, always caring, always giving and yet, even to the editor, if we got something wrong, she had that fierce glance which told you that you had let the newspaper down.”
Andy Veale, editor of The Hunts Post from 2006 to 2014, said: “Liz was a wonderful woman; kind, generous with her time, a great host, and a friend to so many people. She also had a tremendous sense of fun.
“While we journalists were chained to our computers, (at the back of the building) Liz was the real face of The Hunts Post and was known to a vast number of people across Huntingdonshire. Her local knowledge and eye for a good story were a great help to me as editor and I will always be grateful to Liz for her help, as well as her support and care away from the office.”
The current editor Debbie Davies said: “Liz had that very rare quality of being able to make everyone she spoke to feel they were special and important. She gave so much to her work colleagues and asked for so little. She was a huge part of our history and we all miss her dearly.”
Under her gentle exterior, Liz could be mischievous too.
Her husband John described how she loved their holidays in Cyprus where his family is from.
“Cyprus was our second home. She would sit on the beach with a Do Not Disturb sign on the back of the deckchair - just water me (vodka and tonic) every so often.
We had a lot of family and friends out there and a lot of fun.
“I nearly got called up for National Service. My mum said I was too old for it so I didn’t worry but one year, we arrived at Larnaca and the airport guards interrogated me.
“I pretended not to speak Greek but they saw through that. I was asked for purpose of visit and I said, holiday, visiting family.
“They said I needed an exit visa to be exempt from National Service and that would take three months. Liz’s face lit up - at the idea of three months in Cyprus.
“One of my cousins worked for the Cypriot Government as a cartographer. She said ‘Come with me to the embassy tomorrow’ and I got the visa the same day.
“Liz was a bit disappointed. “After that, every year when we went back, Liz would hide my visa.”
“If I had done National Service, it would have been a desk job because of my age and we would have been there nine months - Liz had already planned where we would live.”
Her workmates became her friends. Denise Sanderson said: “You couldn’t have had a better friend. Liz would go out of her way for everybody.
“She was happiest helping people. She had time for everybody, no matter what the situation. If people were putting in a death notice or a memorial, she took her time and she spoke to them. If they cried, she would be with them and talk to them, she was the most understanding person.
“She got no end of stories for the reporters because she had listened to people. She would go into the newsroom and say, I think you should talk to this person, someone’s got a story here. She was a friend to all the staff, too, for all of us. She was the person who listened.”
Colleague and friend Judy Hill said; “Liz had a lot of friends but we all felt special.
“You felt she knew you better than you knew yourself. She got so much pleasure out of doing nice things.”
Amanda Murfitt fellow receptionist at The Hunts Post, said readers had phoned the paper to pay their tributes to Liz.
“They phoned to say how very kind she always was in dealing with notices and how sensitive. So many people knew her, she had helped so many families over the years. I used to say I was her apprentice. When I started, people would say: ‘Where’s the other lady?’”
“Every customer she dealt with in reception she showed them true compassion and kindness. She will be missed by so many people whose lives she’s brightened.”
“She would help by just listening. Whatever it was, she would understand immediately. She was one of a kind.”
Asked how Liz would like to be remembered, John said: “As a caring. loving person - with a ray of sunshine on her.”
Liz leaves John, her two stepsons, Christopher and Savva, and step granddaughter, Shannon.
Donations for Cancer Research UK in Liz’s memory, can be sent to the Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TB or William Peacock and Sons, Castle Hill Lodge, Castle Moat Road, Huntingdon, PE29 3PG.