A FORMER Telegraph journalist who charmed Hollywood star Sean Connery has sadly passed away at the age of 70.

Allison Hunter had a long, successful career as a reporter and wrote for a dozen daily and weekly newspapers.

This included nine years at the Greenock Telegraph, where she met her future husband James, who was a sub editor at the time.

Greenock Telegraph:

James, still a Telegraph columnist and motoring correspondent, today paid tribute to his late wife, saying: "Allison was highly regarded as a news reporter and feature writer. She wrote clean, crisp copy and was renowned for accuracy.

"Prominent figures Allison interviewed in the fields of entertainment and politics included the actor Sean Connery and Tony Blair when he was prime minister.

"Allison did not have a head for heights but that did not stop her taking to the skies for a feature on the Rothmans aerobatic display team. She really enjoyed the experience."

Back in 2020 Allison spoke to the Telegraph about her encounter with James Bond legend Connery when he passed away in 2020.

She said: "It was without doubt my best ever interview and a great moment to look back on.

"I can't think of a bigger star anywhere - and he was Scottish.

"Sean Connery really was a man's man and I remember I was terrified beforehand, but you just get on with it.

"He was late for the interview because he was over in Edinburgh visiting his mum, who was ill at the time.

"I was with another reporter who asked him about films. He just glazed over.

"When it was my turn I asked him 'how is your mum?' and it just broke the ice.

"I just seemed to ask the right question at the right time."

Allison was also first to break the news in 1986 of the tragic murder of 16-year-old Greenock schoolgirl Elaine Doyle, a case that remained unsolved for almost 30 years.

She was the first reporter on the scene and the first member of the press to speak to Elaine's parents.

Allison featured in an episode of the TV documentary series Murdertown about the case back in 2019, along with current Telegraph editor David Goodwin, who interviewed Elaine's brother after the High Court trial that finally convicted her killer in 2014.

Allison Alexis Hunter, nee Ewan, hailed from Glasgow, excelled at school and embarked on a journalism career after studying at Napier College in Edinburgh.

James said: "She had a great love of reading and it was no surprise that creating stories became her profession."

Love blossomed at the Telegraph and she and James got married at Erskine Parish Church in 1984 and settled in Bishopton.

They welcomed their first daughter Jennifer in 1987, followed by her sister Gillian in 1993.

The family moved to Langbank in 1997 and lived a stone's throw away from James’s family home.

As well as being a much-loved wife and mother, Allison was a doting grandmother when her grandchildren came along.

Sadly her health had been declining for some years, but this didn't stop her enjoying life.

James said: "Although no longer possible in latter years due to mobility problems, she would also go off to Majorca on her own for 10 days or a fortnight, confident that her now grown up daughters Jennifer and Gillian would keep an eye on their father."

She and James spent many wonderful breaks at Woodland Bay, Girvan, the Ayrshire town where Allison lived and worked for a period.

James and Allison first visited Woodland Bay in 2014 to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and were planning something special there for what would have been their 40th anniversary this August.

Sadly Allison was admitted to the Royal Alexandra Hospital on Boxing Day and passed away on January 25.

Allison was heavily involved in the local community and a member Langbank Parish Church and one of the founders of Inverclyde Talking Newspaper for the Blind, now Inverclyde District Talking Newspaper.

She had also been a member of Glasgow Phoenix Choir.

James said: "Allison will be remembered by many as a lovely person with a lovely smile."

Allison is survived by James, Jennifer and Gillian, grandchildren Piper, Oscar, Hunter and Theo, and brother Bruce. Her sister April passed away in 2021.

Bruce also paid tribute, saying: "Allison had a very generous nature and would always put others before herself. She also showed lots of courage, and despite difficulties in recent years she always conveyed strength of character and good humour. She will be greatly missed by her grateful family."

Former Telegraph editor Stewart Peterson said: "Within her first day it was obvious our new colleague was here to stay and to make a bright contribution for Telegraph readers.

"She brought a sound journalistic experience to the news team and always with an amiable smile and a good sense of humour to colleagues and the general public alike.

"Although Allison left the Telegraph to bring up her girls I am proud to say I have remained a friend of her and Jim until the untimely passing of a lovely friend."

Allison's funeral will be held at Hurlet Crematorium on February 16 at 11am.