Tributes paid to Sheffield-born sports journalist who died after cancer battle 

Vikki Orvice carrying the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg between Barnsley and Kexbrough. (Picture: LOCOG/Press Association Images)
Vikki Orvice carrying the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg between Barnsley and Kexbrough. (Picture: LOCOG/Press Association Images)

Tributes have been paid to a ‘pioneering’ Sheffield-born journalist who lost her battle with breast cancer this morning.

Vikki Orvice, a lifelong Sheffield United supporter, was first diagnosed with the disease in 2007 but tumours spread to other sites in her body and she was told it was incurable. 

Doctors at the Royal Marsden Hospital in central London then gave her chemotherapy and hormonal drugs that initially stopped the cancer advancing.

Despite the diagnosis she continued work as a full-time sports writer for The Sun travelling the world to cover events and was a strong advocate for women in football. 

In an interview prior to her death, Vikki spoke of her love for the sport and how her journalistic flare began with the blades.

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She said: “I wrote about Sheffield United. That’s how I got into football. My dad used to take me. I went into news reporting. It used to be much more structured. I did a university degree, then I did an NCTJ course back in Sheffield and papers would then recruit you from there.

“You’d have to do shorthand, law, they’d send you off on work experience at local papers, and then I went to the Wakefield Express.”

Having covered numerous Olympic games during her career she was delighted when, in 2012, she was given the opportunity to carry the torch 300 metres through Barnsley as it made its way to her hometown of Sheffield.

However, just two years later doctors discovered a tumour in one of her vertebrae but offered her palbociclib pills as part of a clinical trial, which she said enabled her to live a normal life despite suffering some side effects. 

She was later put on a different course of treatment as doctors believed the drugs were losing their effect.

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Her husband, fellow journalist Ian Ridley, posted a touching tribute on Twitter following her death. 

He said: “My beloved, bright, brilliant wife Vikki Orvice passed away at 5am, able to defy the cancer no longer. I am bereft, empty, but grateful for her life and her love. Those who feel the breath of sadness, sit down next to me.”

Those who knew Vikki were quick to share their sadness after hearing the news.

Presenter and former gymnast, Gabby Logan,‏ said: “So sorry Ian. Vikki was a pioneer for so many of us, now following in her footsteps. X”

British long-distance runner, Paula Radcliffe, said: “So very sorry Ian, thoughts with you. A wonderful, genuine and brilliant lady who will be great missed.”

Football reporter, Alan Biggs, said: “May Vikki fly high like her beloved Blades, Ian. So sorry to hear this. Thoughts with you & your family.”

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British sprinter, Dina Asher-Smith‏, said: “I’m so sorry Ian and I’m so sad to hear this news. My thoughts are with you at this time, sending lots and lots of love.”