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Press snapper's work inspires Peter Blake tribute for John Peel compilation

A photographer from the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Evening Star is to see his work featured on the cover of an album dedicated to legendary DJ John Peel, which is being created by the man responsible for the iconic image on the front of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album.

World famous artist Sir Peter Blake will produce a drawing of a photograph taken by Archant Suffolk’s Andy Abbott, which shows the DJ underneath a willow tree at his home in Suffolk.

The artwork will be used for a second compilation album featuring some of the favourite music of the DJ, who died in October 2004.

Andy, head of photographic at the EADT and Evening Star, said: “When I got the phone call asking if they could use one of my pictures I just thought ‘wow’. It came completely out of the blue and is a great accolade.

“The thing with John is that he really disliked having his picture taken. I’ve been going to his house since the early 70s and during that time managed to build a good relationship with him and we had a good rapport.

“A lot of photographers would go round and spend all day taking pictures but I always tried to keep it as quick and painless as possible and I think he liked that and was more relaxed because of it.

“When I took the pictures of him under the willow tree I think I was done in about 10 minutes.

“He was a wonderful guy and I got on well with him and as a result I was able to get some really natural looking shots.”

John’s wife, Sheila Ravenscroft, said: “John always said he was relieved when Andy turned up because his photos always came out best and he did everything with the greatest speed and efficiency.

“John would say ‘Oh thank God it’s you’ because he knew there would be no messing around.”

The new album is due out in the autumn.

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