Helen Mason (journalist)

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Helen Mason Young (1938, Glasgow, Scotland – 1989, London, UK) was a journalist and children's author.

She gave up a successful journalistic career with the Daily Express after she married the political journalist Hugo Young and decided to devote her life to her four children.

As they grew older, she grew back into work. She completed a number of successful children's books under her married name, Helen Young, including Wide Awake Jake, A Throne for Sesame and What Difference Does it Make, Danny? whose target age-groups grew along with her own children.

Eventually she resumed her journalism as a freelance columnist on a number of newspapers, notably The Observer and The Sunday Times. As a journalist she was usually credited under her maiden name Helen Mason, and occasionally other pseudonyms to protect her children from the embarrassment of being identified by their friends with some of her more personal observations about them.

As well as funny first-person columns, she often tackled serious issues including anorexia and was an active, vociferous campaigner on issues she felt strongly about. She was also involved in charities, notably the British Epilepsy Association (now known as Epilepsy Action) which she first contacted for support after her son's night-time and very frightening fits were diagnosed.

A lifelong believer in the power of positive thought, the possibility of her enthusiastic smoking habit harming her was never something she took seriously.

She finally gave up smoking after discovering she was suffering from lung cancer, which eventually claimed her life in October 1989, aged 51.