It was with incredible shock and sadness that we learned of the death of Anna Mathias at the weekend.
She was taken from us far too soon.
Anna wrote a regular column on licensing issues for Inapub and was with us from the very beginning, back in 2011. She was on our team from the start. That's how it felt with Anna as a friend. She was always on your side.
She was a barrister with a speciality as a licensing lawyer. She worked for Woods Whur and before that Joelson Wilson. Maybe you knew her, maybe you didn't.
Maybe she represented you, or maybe she represented an opposing side. Either way, she will have been professional and fair in what she did.
I first met her when I was a new recruit at what was then The Publican magazine. Anna was involved in some awards judging. She stayed on afterwards to have a drink with the team.
I was amazed that a barrister would want to hang out with us lot. I always considered practising the law at that level to be the most glamorous of jobs but there was never any pretentiousness with Anna about what she did or who she socialised with. She was great fun and, using my key measure of how much I like someone, the kind of person you want to hang out with in the pub.
And we went on to spend many hours doing exactly that.
I had the best kind of business meetings with Anna. For roughly 10 minutes we would discuss what she was going to write about in the next issue of the magazine and for the rest of the time we would gas about industry issues and gossip, or our lives away from the world of work. She also gave me fascinating insights into the courtroom dramas she experienced in her career.
She was one of the old school and not without her contradictions. She would happily have a large glass or two of wine at lunch, a smoke, and then tell me she was going off for a workout with a personal trainer.
It never occurred to me that Anna would leave the party early.
Anna celebrates winning an award with her Woods Whur colleagues.
She was also a frustrated journalist, possibly stemming from the years her mum spent working as a reporter in Swindon – Anna's hometown and a place she would regularly visit to see her family and her beloved Swindon Town FC.
Our production editor Ben Thrush used to get nervous when Anna's copy came in. She always filed it to exactly the correct length (unlike most hacks) and on time. She had eyes like a a hawk and if ever her copy was tweaked, she would notice and want to know why.
It was obvious to us why she was working as a barrister and not crashing out words for a living.
In the last few years Anna would come to meetings with her gorgeous dog Poppy. They were virtually inseparable. I don't think I'll ever see a Welsh Terrier again and not think of Anna.
Our thoughts are with her mum Shirley, brother Andrew and her fiancé Viv. He is raising funds in Anna's memory for Diabetes UK – while Anna herself didn't suffer from diabetes, her mother was diagnosed with the condition as a child, so it was something Anna had to deal with throughout her life.