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Photographer who 'shot' the Queen dies at 84

A regional press photographer who once ‘shot’ the Queen has died.

Neville Willasey, left, joined the Liverpool Post and Echo in 1947 as a junior photographer and worked his way to up to become picture editor before his retirement in 1989.

While covering a visit to the Royal Gala in Liverpool by the Queen and Prince Philip in 1961, a flashbulb exploded on Neville’s camera.

The loud bang caused much concern among the gathered throng and caused the Queen to say: “Goodness, I have just been shot.”

Richard Williams, the Echo’s current picture editor who was taken on by Neville in 1972, paid tribute to him on the Echo’s website.

He said: “Neville turned the job of press photographer into a profession.

“He brought the position respect and recognition and went on to create the best provincial newspaper photography department in the country.

“Neville was not just an exemplary professional, he also had a fantastic personality and sense of humour.

“He was greatly admired, not just by his fellow professionals and often famous photographic subjects but also by the Merseyside public.

“Neville was also a pioneer of new technology, having switched from the old plate cameras to the modern 35mm cameras.

“He retired before the digital age but would have taken the changes in his stride.”

Neville grew up in Liverpool and attended the same primary school as Ken Dodd.

He later joined the city’s council as a treasury clerk before becoming an observer in the Royal Navy.

During his time at the Post and Echo he covered 27 Grand Nationals, more than a 1,000 Liverpool and Everton football matches and the rise of The Beatles.

Neville died aged 84 at a local hospice. He is survived by his wife Dorothy and three sons, John, Nick and Peter.