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MBE-winning photographer found dead at home

A retired photographer, who worked on North Yorkshire newspapers for 40 years, and was honoured by the Queen, has died.

Bill Robson, (74), had worked for the Harrogate-based Ackrill Newspaper Group, publishers of the Harrogate Advertiser Series.

He was well known in the area and his sudden and tragic death came as a great shock.

Known to suffer from depression, he was found dead at home and although there were no suspicious circumstances, an inquest will be held. A post-mortem examination had revealed his death was due to hanging.

Jean MacQuarrie, editor-in-chief of Ackrill Newspapers, said: “I have known Bill since my days as a juniorreporter in Ripon over 20 years ago. He was a real character – he knew everyone and was very much involved in Ripon life.

“He worked tirelessly for the Ripon Gazette and loved his job. We were all immensely proud of him when he received the MBE in 1989 for his services to local journalism.”

Born at Boroughbridge in 1928, Bill joined the Army at 18 and spentthree years with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

He was a keen amateur photographer and was taken on by Ackrills in 1955 and worked for thegroup’s various newspaper titles until retirement at the age of 68 in 1996.

He covered a huge range of events, from photographingroyalty to being the first cameraman on the scene of the Dibbles Bridgecoach disaster of 1975 in which 33 people died.

But the highlight of his career came in 1989 when he was awarded the MBE bythe Queen at Buckingham Palace for his services to journalism.

“I had been down many times before to photograph other people as they came away from theinvestiture ceremony, but I never thought that one day it would be mereceiving an award,” he once said.

After leaving Ackrills in 1996, Bill continued to work as a freelancephotographer and lately had also taken on the role of people’s champion whenhe successfully challenged parking regulations in various parts of NorthYorkshire after being issued with a ticket in Bedale. His stand brought himnational media coverage including appearances on television.

He was also a regular contributor to The Darlington and Stockton Times, whose editor Malcolm Warne said: “Bill was a great servant to the community in Ripon and throughout North Yorkshire.

“The staff of the D&S and many of our readers who knew him personally or through his work will miss him greatly.”

Bill leaves a widow, Kate, and a son, Nicholas.

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